Image source: Daniel Bonnell, The Father’s Forgiveness

Today’s Bible Reading

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. — Matthew 6:14-15

More Thoughts for Meditation

Exhortations can be difficult to hear. Especially when they are directed at us with a concrete repercussion. Jesus commands us to forgive one another. This is not a whimsical suggestions–like, hey you know what would be totally cool? Like if you maybe considered to like…i don’t know…forgive like other people.

Jesus says that we have to forgive other people, and that if we don’t then our Father / Mother will not forgive us.

But I do not see this exhortation as a threat. Rather a statement much like a scientific principle. Consider Einstein teaching us that the speed of light in a vacuum is constant. I don’t have a PhD. in Physics, but I can see that Einstein is after something true and important to our lives. Something that he can build upon in the future. This observation would later be developed by Einstein in establishing his Theory of Relativity. So, too, Jesus is teaching us a basic principle of the Spirit.

Forgiveness must be shared.

As though Jesus were saying, this is how prayer functions in the universe: it leads us to be reconciled with God and with others. Just like the Theory of Relativity does not need us to believe in it in order to exist–it simply is–so, too, is the Theory of Forgiveness.

Prayer leads us toward reconciliation. Both in our relationship to God and to each other. If we deny one component of this relationship, the form and function of prayer breaks down.

Jesus refutes any sort of religious isolationism. We are inherently communal, by being designed in God’s image (that glorious Trinity–three in one–relationship). So when Jesus teaches us to pray and then exhorts us to forgive, he is looking directly into that part of us that we often wish to bury–that longing to be known, to be loved, and to be held.

Suggestion for Action

Pray for opportunities to forgive others.