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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Forgiveness

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  July 1, 2021 --

Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Familiar words for all of us al- though, depending on what translation we use we might say “trespasses” or “sins” instead of debts. It also makes a difference whether we use the version appearing in the Gospel according to Matthew (the usual source), or the one in Luke’s Gospel. In Luke, the words used are “and forgive us our sins (Greek hamartia), for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted (Greek opheilonti ) to us”

It is unfortunate that many people repeat the Lord’s Prayer automatically, by rote, without  really pondering over just what is being said, particularly the part where we ask to be forgiven just as we have forgiven others. If we read Matthew’s gospel, Jesus emphasizes this point when he says, “For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” (Matthew 6:14-15). Here, in the original Greek, a third word is used for trespasses, the Greek word paraptoma, which refers to a sin or misbehavior which oversteps prescribed boundaries.

This further instruction about forgiveness is very important and is unfortunately often overlooked. God will forgive our sins, or debts or trespasses if we show true repentance for what we have done [or in many cases for what we have not done that we should have done]. One way that we show repentance is by forgiving others for what they have done to us or not done for us.

Some will say “I can forgive, but I will never forget.” Whether or not that is OK depends entirely on what is meant by “forget”. If you can “forget” whatever pain or anger another has caused you by their actions or inactions, and only remember that another person has shown human weakness, then you can forgive. Remember that nobody is perfect, and you and I have at times caused pain or anger in others. Forgive others, and then turn and forgive yourself, and God will also forgive you.



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