10. Mindful Praying

Short Meditations on the Lord’s Prayer: 10. Mindful Praying

Mt 6:12b   as we also have forgiven our debtors.

I sometimes think these words are sneaky; they creep up on us and drop a bombshell in our laps. The first part of the verse was like that: when we start praying ‘forgive us’ we suddenly are reminded of our plight, of our need, that He has met. So now comes these few words tacked on, it seems, to the bigger issue of His forgiveness, but then suddenly it explodes and we find ourselves with an equally big issue – the way we view others.

I have sometimes testified how, one day I was reading about transgressing American TV evangelists and without thinking about it, I found myself thinking, “Lord, how could you have used such people?” and then quick as a shot came back the answer from heaven, “Son, the same reason I use you.” Suddenly He was putting me on the same level as these ‘failures’! Then He explained, “Son, I use you, not because you are right but because you are available.” Ooops! Yes, none of us are exactly right, we all have this tendency to getting it wrong and so none of us can claim the high ground. We’re all at the same level – all sinners together, redeemed the same way, not through anything good about us, but about Him.

The trouble is that we look at others – especially those who have offended us and maybe harmed us, and yes, we want them to repent and say sorry. And that is right because we are told to forgive as He forgave us, but He never brings the fruit of forgiveness to us until we have repented. Yes, He’s always looking and waiting for it, looking with a heart yearning for us to come to our senses and repent, but He still has good intentions towards us (even if our wayward stubbornness refuses to repent and so we face the eternal consequences) and is there for the moment we do turn, we do repent.

And that’s how it is to be with us. The extreme is that we’re told to love our enemies and pray for those who are against us (Mt 5:44), which may well include those who have hurt us, but if God looks for their good, their redemption, so must we. We may have to ‘watch from afar’ if they are still hostile but that shouldn’t stop us praying for them and being there for them with forgiveness the moment they come back to us seeking it. This is the attitude of the believer; it reveals the true believer and if it is absent, then…..

God forgives us when we ask and we can do no less when others ask for it from us. In the meantime, just like God out looking for the wayward prodigal son (Lk 15) with a good, yearning heart, that is to be how we are also, revealing ourselves as His children, looking for the return of other wayward children. Amen? Amen!

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