5. “Forgive us for our less than perfect actions, just as we have forgiven those who have wronged us.”
* We often try to minimize, excuse and/or justify our less than perfect actions, but as Jesus teaches in the previous part of the “Sermon on the Mount”, none of us are good enough for God’s standard. Therefore, we are all in need of God’s forgiveness. This ought to keep us humble, reminding us that we are not so much better than others, that we have room to judge and condemn them as being worse than we are. (This doesn’t negate recognizing sin and exhorting each other to abstain from it.)
* Amazingly, the second part of this verse simply assumes that we have forgiven everyone whom we may have had something against. I don’t believe this is saying that forgiveness is easy, but instead it is highlighting its importance. Immediately following the prayer, Jesus states that if we forgive, God will forgive us, but if we don’t forgive, God won’t forgive us. This should certainly cause us to consider forgiveness very seriously!
* For thoroughness, notice there are no conditions. It doesn’t say, “forgive the things which are easy” or “only forgive when you have been hurt a bit, but your exempt if you’ve been hurt badly.” Remember, Jesus was tortured and killed with little justifiable reason, yet he forgave even then. Else where Peter asks if we should forgive a whole seven times, certainly thinking that was way above and beyond what the average person would do. And yet Jesus “blows that out of the water” by saying we should forgive 70 times seven times (effectively meaning there is no limit to forgiveness)!