“And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us”
Or, as Matthew 6 puts it: Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.
We don’t generally like to forgive… but we love to be forgiven.
Look at our daily lives… how often do we criticize or punish someone for doing something that we have done ourselves. Maybe our kids steal something from school and we come down on them saying, “stealing is wrong”, but then we go and do something like cheat on our taxes. We confront a friend when they have talked about us behind our backs calling them “two-faced” or “backbiting”, but then we go and do the same thing to someone else.
The world would be a lot better place if everyone could forgive and be forgiven.
Think about it. How many open-ended conflicts are we holding open right now? How many people can you count with whom you are in an unresolved conflict. Chances are it has something to do with forgiving or being forgiven.
This line in the prayer reminds us NOT to let conflicts linger in our lives… we all need forgiveness… which means we all must give AND receive it.
If we all need it… shouldn’t we all be generous in forgiving of others.