Devotions from Haase’s book, Living the Lord’s Prayer
When we pray “ Forgive us our trespasses” we are recognizing that God frees us from our guilt and forgets our past. In, fact, no sin is written in indelible ink!
There is debilitating guilt and there is healthy guilt.
Debilitating guilt is when we allow our ego to become judge and prison guard, reminding us constantly of our sin and condemning us. It puts us behind prison bars of shame and our hearts become a straight jacket that constricts us. It convinces us to cower in shame and embarrassment.
But healthy guilt is when we honestly admit our sins, examine their roots and causes, learn from them and move on. Such guilt challenges us never to forget that God has the final word. We are reminded that God is patient with our sinfulness and lavish with divine forgiveness. He delights in taking our sins of past and throwing them into the sea where there is “No fishing allowed.”! When God forgives, He forgets.
We are also to be as merciful and forgiving with ourselves as our Father is with us.
Like the story of the prodigal we need to accept what we are freely offered and recognize that forgiveness is a free gift.
So much of our spiritual formation is coming out of hiding and standing in the light and moving to repentance. The essence of repentance it so be transparent before God about our sinfulness, accept God’s forgiveness, and recommit to being our truest self.