Matthew 6:12

After graduating college, I spent two and a half months at home until I landed a full-time job. The fog of recession was still clearing, and though I was receiving interviews, nothing materialized in time for me to avoid returning to the old bedroom I shared with my brother. It was not how I imagined my post-collegiate journalism career would launch.

That time at home also forced me to confront the rift in my relationship with my dad. We had a falling out during spring break over my relationship with my girlfriend, and I hadn’t spoken to him since. It weighed on us both, and with me being at home, there was nowhere to hide. I chaperoned a week of youth camp that summer, and in that time away determined that the only way through this impasse was to humble myself, acknowledge my father’s intentions were only to help me make good decisions, forgive him for the clumsy way he expressed that, and seek his forgiveness for cutting off contact and displaying hostility and bitterness. It was a difficult conversation, but a life-giving and restoring one. Seeking his forgiveness and restoring our relationship made a profound difference on the rest of my life. It also taught me how to forgive and seek forgiveness.

Whether you’re used to saying “debts” or “trespasses” when you recite the Lord’s Prayer, forgiveness is Jesus’ key concept here. He teaches his disciples to ask God for a conditional forgiveness that is based on how we forgive others. This makes sense. Our capacity to seek and accept grace is contingent upon our awareness of our need. When we recognize our need for forgiveness, we will more readily forgive others. In turn, God’s forgiveness is offered to us in equal measure.

Consider

Who needs forgiveness from me today and for what do I need forgiveness?

Pray

God of grace and mercy, teach me to forgive as completely and continually as you do, so that I may approach others with humility and an open heart. Amen.



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