Matthew 6:11, Luke 11:4
“I’m not sure I can ever find it in my heart to forgive that person.”
Have you ever thought that to yourself or had that spoken to you by another person? The heart is kind of a dangerous place to look for something as noble and good as forgiveness.
Our world and our flesh teach us to believe that our heart can only be the source of good and cozy and nice things, but the scriptures talk differently than this. They tell us that the heart can be very hard and cold. They tell us that the heart can be full of all sorts of wicked things — not the least of which would be harboring grudges and hatred.
The heart is not so great a place to look for something as noble and good as forgiveness. So when our Lord teaches us to pray regarding forgiveness he directs us elsewhere first. The Lord teaches us to pray with respect to forgiveness.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. (Luke 11:4)
The source of forgiveness, as the Lord speaks of it, is not first in us, it’s not inside of us but rather that our forgiveness comes to us from outside of us. The Father’s heart toward you and me, toward us sinners, that is the source of that goodness and mercy that wipes out the debt of our sin.
Undeserved love to us as God takes our sin and all of its burden away on his Son the sin bearer. And only from there, in that confidence and in that certainty that our sins are not held against us but have been wiped out, only from that good and gracious source do you and I kind of become active in forgiving those who have wronged us or sinned against us.
You might say that forgiveness is never in us. Rather it is to us from God in His Son. And then it is through us and through the abundance of grace and forgiveness that God pours into us and toward us so that it might go to our neighbor.
God grant us the abundance of forgiveness in Christ so that that forgiveness might flow freely through us to our neighbor. Amen.