Whilst Jesus was physically on earth, his followers, called disciples, asked him to teach them how to pray. So he taught them to pray and today many people pray in the same manner but call this prayer the Lord’s prayer.
It is obvious to those who are discerning, that this is the disciples prayer and the most important part of the prayer is the line that says “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
The reason why I think that this line is so important, is because of the serious implications that unforgiveness poses. Everyone has the power to choose and the choice to forgive or to keep things in our hearts is a personal one. The writer of Hebrews alludes to the dangers of allowing anger and bitterness to control our lives, when he encourages us to “Pursue peace with everyone”, Heb. 12:14. Since a life of peace and contentment, leads to Holiness which allows us to see God.
Conversely, a life of unforgiveness and anger, which are characterised by keeping malice, being involved in quarrels, dissensions, envy, strife and so on (see Gal. 5:19ff) leads to bitterness and regret. The root of unforgiveness when watered by anger and angry situations, produces a harvest of the flesh which exhibit themselves as various types of cancer (liver and pancreatic cancer being the most common). This limits our effectiveness as witnesses for God and reduces our life expectancy to 70 years or below (see Psalm 90 which states the fate of those who disobey God’s precepts).
In sum, as we start this New Year 2015, let us start by humbling ourselves, confessing our sins and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal to us things that have remained hidden for years. And as the apostle Paul reminds us, ‘love is patient; love is kind; love is not boastful or arrogant or rude, it does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful, it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things hopes all things and endures all things (1.Cor.13:4ff). As soon as we forgive those who wronged us, we allow love (God) to guide us.
Verse for New Year: Phil. 3:13; Forgetting what is behind me, I press forward to what is ahead.