Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. Matthew 6:11-12
I say the “Lord’s Prayer” (Matt 6:9-13) every day. No doubt the result of highly effective modeling from my mother when I was 4 years old. That’s when I learned it. And I’ve since passed it on to our children.
I thought I comprehended completely what this prayer meant. But 2 weeks ago, I realized something I had never realized before. The clauses on forgiveness follow, via conjunction, the clause on “daily bread.”
Put another way, this prayer makes clear that we are to pray daily for the food we need–the only way you can have “daily bread” or food for “today” is if you request it daily. And the clause on daily bread is connected with an “and” to the clauses on forgiveness. Which means we are to seek God’s forgiveness and we are to forgive others daily.
I don’t like admitting how God revealed this to me, but it’s key, so here it goes. Awhile back I was hurt deeply by someone close to me. At the time it happened, I wrestled through the process of forgiveness, but did it. I thought it was done and over. If anyone asked me how I felt about that person (which people did), I was able to respond from a posture of forgiveness. I really thought the issue was over, done, and in the past.
And it was. Except that a series of really small things over a long period of time — omissions and commissions alike — built up in me. Super small things that didn’t even make my radar screen of needing to be forgiven. So I let them go and didn’t attend to them. Until I realized 2 weeks ago that they had taken on a life of their own. Not only had they hurt in and of themselves, but they also dug up all those old things I thought I had released. I thought that patch of garden was free and clear; but little seeds had made their way in overtime and developed into a thorny briar patch when I wasn’t looking.
So I had to go through the whole process again. And I gotta tell you, I hate weeding. Whether it’s the garden of my soul or the yard around our house – it isn’t for me. I resent having to clean up what I should have prevented in the first place.
But I did it. And in the process, I learned an important lesson. Every day when I say the Lord’s prayer, I’m now pausing and letting Him search my heart for things that happened that day that I need to forgive. And even better, I find myself forgiving after incidents throughout the day — not just once at the end. My goal is that whenever that fleeting feeling of “ehh…” or “oooch” crosses my heart, I will immediately turn and lay it down at His feet so I’m not carrying it even for a minute.