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December 8th, we observed Reconciliation Sunday. This was an opportunity for us to forgive those who hurt us, and to reconcile with one another.  It would be tragic for God to bless us throughout the year and we stand at the dawn of a new year with malice in our hearts.  God has forgiven us so many times in the course of one year, and yet many of us cannot forgive someone else.  This matter of forgiveness requires more than one-day’s devotion or one Sunday sermon. Rather it requires all of us to examine ourselves and ask if we have forgiven others the way God has forgiven us. By now, we should have grasped the meaning.  We have said it so many times before as we have prayed the Lord’s Prayer.  Again, it has been said routinely as opposed to really doing what we are called upon to do.  Read this familiar passage found in Matthew 6:12, which reads in this manner:

 “And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.”

Here we have the fifth petition in the Master’s prayer.  In this particular instance, debt is a Jewish word for sin.  He who sins is under special obligation to make amends and is not free until he has fulfilled that obligation. Forgiveness can be defined as laying aside revenge. The Master in teaching this profound prayer emphasizes the need for forgiveness. Notice it follows asking for the daily bread we receive.  On the other hand, we are called upon to forgive.  We have received forgiveness but have not been able to give it.  I pray today as this year winds down that you will ask God to forgive those who have sinned against you, and at the same time you will ask God to forgive you for the sins you have committed toward others.  If you want forgiveness then you must be willing to forgive others.