Matthew 6:9-15 (NIV)

9 “This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. ‘ 14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Matthew 6:12 (NIV)

12 Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors

DEVOTION – James Davidson (Quebec, Canada)

Four of us kids were throwing snowballs.  The moist snow made a hard projectile.  I packed one with my mittened hands and threw it with all my eight-year-old might.  It caught Ken flush in the face.  He grabbed his eye and in minutes was headed to the hospital.  A mix of shock and nausea weakened my knees as I watched silently.  No one had seen me, and I said nothing even though the injury caused weeks of vision problems for Ken.

After hearing sermons on forgiveness for 30 years, I realized that if forgiveness was a main theme of the Lord’s Prayer, then it meant a lot to God.  I started forgiving and asking for forgiveness.

Ken, now about 50, topped my list.  Sweat pored off my hands as I dialed his number.  “Do you remember the snowball that hit you in the eye?”  I stammered, confessing my guilt and asking for forgiveness.

He said, “Of course I forgive you.  You were just a kid.  You didn’t mean to hurt anybody.”  He assured me that the incident caused no lasting damage.

I closed my eyes and sighed, letting relief flow through me.  I thanked Ken, and I thanked God for the gift of forgiveness and for the grace in Ken’s heart.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: It’s never too late to ask for forgiveness.

PRAYER: Thank you, dear God, for forgiving our sins.  Show us the people we need to forgive and those from whom we need to ask forgiveness, as we pray, “Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.  Give us each day our daily brad.  Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.  And lead us not into temptation.”  Amen.