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Forgive Us Our Trespasses

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"You are now free to forgive. The inability to forgive shall not have dominion over you, for you are not forgiving out of compulsion, but in response to the grace of God."

"Oh, I forgive you as a Christian, of course; but there are some things one can never forget!" This line comes from C. S. Lewis's book The Great Divorce. While it is spoken in heaven, the character who speaks it is from hell. Lewis's point is that in heaven no one dares to think like this. The line makes all of us laugh because in it we see the all-too-human attempt to sanctify hard-heartedness. Not too far beneath the laughter, however, we shrivel inside as we wonder if we face the same future as the ghost who spoke the line. While Lewis's book was speculative fiction, he was thoroughly biblical in linking forgiving with being forgiven. The connection was drawn very clearly by Jesus in the Lord's Prayer. So where does that leave us when we fail to forgive?

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Rick Ritchie is a long-time contributor to Modern Reformation. He is a graduate of Christ College Irvine and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

Issue: "The Lord's Prayer" July/August 1993 Vol. 2 No. 4 Page number(s): 17-19

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