Summary: Fourth in a series on the Lord’s Prayer, this sermon deals with forgiveness.


Fourth in a Series on the Lord’s Prayer

"Forgive we forgive others..."

In the current movie, COURAGE UNDER

FIRE, Denzel Washington plays a soldier who

makes a tragic error. At the beginning of the film,

he and his men engage the enemy. It is night, and it

is a dark. The battle is filled with bullets,

explosions, fear and courage, but more than

anything -- it is filled with confusion. At one point,

given only seconds to make a decision to fire the

guns of the tank, Denzel Washington’s character

gives the order to fire. Moments later, he realizes

the enemy his men has been firing upon are fellow

Americans. They have, in fact, made a direct hit

upon his own best friend, who dies due to friendly


Throughout the rest of the movie, Washington’s

character struggles with this tragic error. Several

times he begins to write a letter to the parents of his

best friend, but the words always fail him.

And his character is not alone. Other soldiers in

the movie have made their own tragic errors. Some

find freedom from the guilt for their mistakes

through drugs. Another finds it in anger and

bitterness. Another finds it in denial. Another

finds it in suicide.

It is not until the end of the movie that Denzel

Washington makes a pilgrimage to the home of his

friend and faces his friends mother and father and

admits to him that while their son died heroically

and in devotion to duty, death came not from

enemy fire, but from a fellow American.

The mother stands in silence, the father sits

quietly as they listen to the confession of

Washington’s character, who finishes by saying, "I

know you can never forgive me."

The father looks at the soldier and says,

"You’re right."

Forgiveness. We need it. We long for it. We

hunger for it. And we know that sometimes it does

not come from those around us.

In the Lord’s Prayer, there is a reflection of that

hunger for forgiveness.

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

And in the Lord’s Prayer, there is the realization

that forgiveness is something we need on three

distinct levels.

We need to first find forgiveness from God.


UNFORGIVING WORLD, Ron Lee Davis retells

the true story of a priest in the Philippines. He was

a much-loved man of God, but he carried the

burden of a secret sin he had committed many

years before. He had repented, but still had no

peace, no sense of God’s forgiveness.

In his parish was a woman who deeply loved

God and who claimed to have visions in which she

spoke with Christ and he with her. The priest,

however, was skeptical. To test her he said, "The

next time you speak with Christ, I want you to ask

him what sin your priest committed while he was in

seminary." The woman agreed.

A few days later, the priest asked, "Well, did

Christ visit you in your dreams?"

"Yes, he did," she said.

"And did you ask him what sin I committed

in seminary?"


"Well, what did he say?"

The woman smiled and said, "That’s the

most interesting thing I’ve heard him say yet. When

I asked him what you did that was so sinful, he

looked at me and said, ’I can’t remember’."

God’s forgiveness for us is complete.

When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we ask that

God would forgive us. And when he does forgive

us, it is total and complete.

This is, of course, of great comfort, but in

the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus mixes a bit of comfort

with a bit of discomfort -- because in the Lord’s

Prayer he tells us that our forgiveness from God is

closely tied to our forgiveness fro others.

The prayer says, "Forgive us our debts, as

we also have forgiven our debtors." And then

Jesus goes on to give the only exposition of any of

the phrases of this prayer, by saying "For if you

forgive men when they sin against you, your

heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you

do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not

forgive your sins."

There is, in the Bible, a continual relationship

between our ability to receive forgiveness FROM

God and our ability to give forgiveness to those

around us.

And this is the second dimension of

forgiveness found in the Lord’s Prayer. The first

dimension is our forgiveness from God. The

second is our forgiveness to others.

And forgiving others is a difficult thing to


Barbara Reynolds is a former columnist for

the USA TODAY newspaper. Several years ago,

at a time when two senators were watching their

careers crumble because of past relationships they

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Browse All Media

Related Media

Fasting And Prayer
PowerPoint Template
Prayer Life
PowerPoint Template
PowerPoint Template
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion