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Praying for forgiveness is a vivid reminder that God frees us from debilitating guilt and forgets our past. No sin is written with indelible ink.

We seek replenishment of "our" debts—the debts of all the Father's children. I do not just pray for my sins and you for yours. We pray for our Father to forgive us.

Muckraking is not gospel work. Witch-hunting is not gospel work. Shaming the outcast is not gospel work. Forgiving sin is gospel work.

He that cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself, for every man had need to be forgiven.

Failure to forgive … wasn't a matter of failing to live up to a new bit of moral teaching. It was cutting off the branch you were sitting on. The only reason for being Kingdom-people, for being Jesus' people, was that the forgiveness of sins was happening; so if you didn't live forgiveness, you were denying the very basis of your own new existence.

Jesus is not saying that God's forgiveness is conditional upon our forgiving others. In the first place, forgiveness that's conditional isn't really forgiveness at all … and in the second place, our unforgivingness is among those things … that we need to have God forgive us most. What Jesus apparently is saying is that the pride that keeps us from forgiving is the same pride that keeps us from accepting forgiveness, and will God please help us do something about it.

Einstein's E=MC2 is an extraordinary concept. So radical: matter and energy are two phases of the same sort of general stuff. There's only one other idea that radical: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

[F]orgiveness has two necessary elements. The first is that we give up the notion of revenge ("turn the ...

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Praying 'Forgive Us Our Sins'
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April 2009

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