June 18, 2008 - Wednesday of the 4th Week after Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Proverbs 20:5-25; John 17:1-26

Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. What does this mean? We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us. (The Lord's Prayer, Fifth Petition)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. “I can forgive you, but I can't forget.” We tell ourselves that to fool ourselves that we're “forgiving” but also reminding whoever hurt us that there are consequences to their sins. You know what? That's not forgiveness. Forgiveness IS forgetting about a person's sin. It means treating them as if they have not harmed you or done something against you. As if they have not even sinned against you. Forgiveness means not remembering their sins at all. How do we know that's what forgiveness is?

The Lord says through the prophet Jeremiah: “I will remember their sins no more.” Think about those words. Because Jesus has gone to the cross, shed His blood, stared down the devil and sin and cried, “It is finished,” the Lord doesn't remember any of your sins. Because you have been washed at the font and covered in Christ, the Lord doesn't keep tabs on your wrongdoing. Because your pastor has declared this absolution to you and because you are full of Jesus' body and blood, there is no remembrance, no record of your sins.

What joy! The Lord has a far “worse” memory than we do! That's why He gives us the Fifth Petition as part of the Lord's prayer--so that by His Spirit we might learn to actually forgive and definitely forget any sins that someone does against us. True, we're still sinners. We don't forget so easily. Good confession! Praise God that in Christ He doesn't remember our hardheartedness and that He gives such overflowing forgiveness of our sins that it can be passed on gladly to those who sin against us! In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

Forgive our sins, Lord, we implore, That they may trouble us no more; We, too, will gladly those forgive Who hurt us by the way they live. Help us in our community To serve each other willingly. (LSB 766:6)