Bible Society of South Africa
Hennie Symington

Prayer – Day 15

Fifth petition

Bible text(s)

12Forgive us the wrongs we have done,

as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.

Matthew 6:12GNBOpen in Bible reader

We live in a world of an “eye for an eye”. We see this on television, we see it in the cycle of violence in our communities, our own homes and our relationships with others. When we ask God to forgive us as we have forgiven others, what are we saying? Are we saying that God should forgive our sins providing that we forgive the sins done to us by other people?

What if we cannot forgive someone? Does that mean that God will not forgive us? This seems to be what this petition in the Lord’s Prayer says and as if to underline the point, Jesus says directly after teaching his disciples this prayer: “If you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).

When Jesus taught this prayer, he saw clearly that those who cannot learn to let go of their hurt and resentment will be eaten away by them. It is not until we can let go of hatred and a desire for revenge that we will be open to the healing, forgiving touch of God.

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