FAITHFUL WORDS Dr. Kenneth L. Faught A Forgiving Father “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12). Everybody wants to be forgiven, but nobody wants to eat crow. What we want, and often need, is a new beginning – a clean slate where we can start over and go in new directions. Jesus offers us the key to such new beginnings, and it’s called “forgiveness.” The Lord’s Prayer reminds us that God is willing to forgive our sin. We can be more than our past history. The Old Testament declares the forgiveness of God. “Come now, let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow…” (Isaiah 1:18). It’s amazing how much grace there is in the Old Testament. The New Testament also declares the forgiveness of God. The ministry of Jesus was introduced by John the Baptizer with the words, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Christian experience declares the forgiveness of God. We know that God forgives because we have been forgiven, and because we have seen what he has done in the lives of others. The question is not “Will God forgive?” but “Will we accept his forgiveness?” The Lord’s Prayer tells us that God takes sin seriously. The “missing” words in this prayer are significant. e are not taught to ask forgiveness for mistakes or slip-ups, but for sins. The Bible describes sin as “missing the mark”, “breaking the law”, and living in “moral crookedness.” Strong words! This petition calls upon us to confront God and ask to be forgiven. The Lord’s Prayer tells us that God expects forgiveness to be shared/multiplied. A very pivotal word in this request is the word “as” – forgive us “as” we forgive others. “As” points to the timing of forgiveness – forgive us “while” we are forgiving others or “at the same time” we are forgiving others, or even “when” we forgive others. The word “as” also points us to the degree or quality of forgiveness. Forgive us “in the same way” we forgive others. Jesus will later say that if we do not forgive others God will not forgive us. Aren’t you glad our heavenly Father forgives us? Don’t you wish everyone did? And while we are being forgiven, shouldn’t we pass that forgiveness along to others? Dr. Faught is Pastor of The LaFollette United Methodist Church.