Friday, March 26, 2010

As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us

For the past few weeks, the idea of justice has been a constant theme. We spoke about it in Sunday School. I read about justice in one of my daily readings and also for one of my Wednesday Bible studies. I can't seem to escape the idea of justice.

Human beings want justice. We say that what goes around comes around, and we wait eagerly to see if criminals get their due. Some of us even prefer books with a happy ending because the embattled hero and/or heroine always get what they deserve--and so does the villain. The question remains, though: do we really want to get what we deserve from God?

Each time I recite "And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," I have to ask silently: "Lord, please forgive me better than I forgive others." Try as I may, I hold on to grudges. I forgive in name, but I don't forget--and that is a part of human nature, too, I'm afraid.

This portion of the Lord's Prayer is a reminder that God's justice isn't our justice, and that's a good thing. We don't need to worry about whether or not murderers who repent at the last minute will get their due. We need to worry about whether or not we'll get our due, for, as James says, "whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." (James 2:10)

So I always thank God for abundant grace, and I pray to do a better job of forgiving even while I give thanks that He's so much better at it than I am.

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