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Pray Like This
God’s grace and mercy to us should cause us to be gracious and merciful to others. We ought to be generous in forgiving others because God has been generous in forgiving us. If a person is unforgiving, one would have to doubt his Christian credentials. To be forgiving is to be like Jesus. When we are forgiving, we bear a family likeness to God. Jesus told the parable of the unforgiving servant as a stern warning to those who have an unforgiving nature. Such people do not belong to him. They are pretenders and impostors. We are to forgive sincerely from our hearts. In this sense forgiveness is not merely a matter of saying the words, “I forgive you” though that is a start. We must be liberal, big-hearted and open-handed in forgiving because this is the way we would want to be forgiven ourselves. We are not to be tight-fisted in forgiving others. Even if we take Christ’s words in a literal sense, we are to forgive a person 490
times (i.e., 70 X 7). The principle is that we are to forgive repeatedly and never tire of forgiving. Not many of us have been tested to forgive on such a scale. But God provides special grace in extraordinary circumstances. We are to be imitators of Christ, not imitations. Forgiving others imparts peace of mind and heart, and it glorifies God. The sin of unforgiveness can blight our Christian life and rob us of joy. When God forgives us, he does not keep us at a distance. That would be a forensic technicality; a legal absolution, but not appropriate in a family context.
The forgiveness that God gives is one where there are reconciliation and restoration of right relationship.