Forgiveness lies at the heart of Jesus ministry. Jesus knew that for us to find peace in our hearts and our being, that we needed to forgive.
For it is only in forgiveness that we find the freedom and healing to live fully in the present moment, being all of whom God made us to be.
Hurts, slights, harms from others weigh us down and preoccupy us, keep us in grief, anger, resentment or worse. They prevents us from loving fully, freely and unconditionally as the Father and Son love us.
Yet he also knows how hard it is for us to forgive, so he gives us this prayer to ask the Father’s help in this matter. He knows we cannot do it alone, for oftentimes the hurt can be deep and the crime against us even heinous. It needs the power of heaven to aid us in our gift of forgiveness to others, for this is surely what it is.
The act itself may feel unforgivable or be unforgivable in the moment it is done, in its deliberateness and intentional hurtfulness even, yet still he asks the Father to help us to forgive.
Yet Jesus also knows that forgiveness may not always feel possible. He has lived amongst us. He understands the human heart and mind and the lives of the people he lived with and met. He knows, in truth, how hard it is to forgive, yet still it is his best hope for us.
Yet even if we cannot forgive, he provides an even greater inspiration, for his intention to go through the cross and fulfil the Father’s will to fully be love in the world, he pours out mercy that indwells in the very centre of the Heart of love and flows out to us all for all time.
Mercy is greater than forgiveness; it is immediate, pure love, bringing complete healing and wholeness to all it touches, it flows from the heart to the heart.
Mercy bypasses forgiveness , it is a complete immersion in love that overwhelms the need for forgiveness in its awesome healing power.
Jesus says forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. It seems pertinent to look at this phrase with new eyes, when you remember that this is the Son talking to His Father about their act of forgiveness. They forgive us purely, simply and totally. The cross illustrates this most perfectly.
Jesus gives up his life that we might be immersed in mercy and finally understand forgiveness. He forgives all. He forgives those who misunderstand his life and his meaning. He forgives those who harm him deliberately for he sees with eyes of wisdom how small minded, how unaware and ignorant they truly are in the acts of harm they perpetuate against him. Yet still he loves them.
That is surely the greatest command, ” to forgive as we forgive” when you understand that the forgiveness required is equal to the forgiveness poured out upon us always from the Father and the Son: forgiveness vast and amazing in its awe and splendour of gift.