The Fifth Petition.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
What does this mean?
Answer - We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look upon our sins, nor deny such petitions on account of them; for we are worthy of none of the things for which we pray, neither have we deserved them; but that He would grant them all to us by grace; for we daily sin much, and indeed deserve nothing but punishment. So will we verily, on our part, also heartily forgive and also readily do good to those who sin against us.
The most powerful person on the face of the earth is that person who is in position to forgive. When I need forgiveness and my neighbor refuses to forgive me, I am left powerless. There is nothing I can do. I can beg, plead, and appeal all day long, but until that person forgives, I am left powerless, helpless, stranded. In this petition we are reminded that we forgive because God forgives.
Because God forgives our sins, we promise to forgive those who sin against us. We do this from the heart by doing good to those that have done evil against us. As we daily sin much and daily need the assurance of God’s forgiveness so we need to forgive our neighbor. As God in Christ Jesus has forgiven great and many sins we need to be ready to forgive the sins others have committed against us.
O most merciful God, who hast given Thine only-begotten Son to die for us, have mercy upon us and for His sake grant us remission of all our sins; and by Thy Holy Spirit increase in us true knowledge of Thee and of Thy will true obedience of Thy Word, to the end that by Thy grace we may come to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord
Prayer of Confession, The Lutheran Hymnal © 1941 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis
Artwork by Ed Rojas, © Higher Things