Not everybody knows the Lord's Prayer, but lots of people do. If you need to catch up on the specifics, I've placed a copy at the bottom of this blog posting.
I am particularly partial to the admonition that we should "forgive those who trespass against us." The way the prayer reads, this forgiveness on our part is what allows God to forgive us for our own trespasses.
The polarization of our contemporary politics, of course, is based not on the Lord's Prayer, but on the opposite principle: never let anyone forget, ever, what horrible and unfair things those in the opposite party have done - and never forgive them, either!
An article in The Wall Street Journal, back in January, got me thinking about forgiveness - and not only in terms of partisan polarization. The thought that came to me, in fact, was not so much about forgiving "others," but about forgiving "ourselves."
In the January 27, 2023, edition of The Journal, Leslie Bienen. Jeanne Ann Noble, and Margery Smelkinson denounced the "vicious circle of covid boondoggles and bad data" that caused problems of all kinds. Did our government's response to the Covid-19 pandemic properly deal with it? What about China's response? Should we keep remembering all the mistakes, or should we "forgive and forget," and move on from here?
If we consider that we live, really, only in the "present," in the moment of "right now," then forgetting and forgiving the past (and our own past trespasses and mistakes) makes a lot of sense. This is particularly true if we can couple our forgetting and forgiving of the past with a determination to ignore the uncertainties and terrors of times to come. To the degree we succeed in doing both those things, simultaneously, we will discover what is, quite likely, the most efficacious strategy for handling what lies ahead: forgive ourselves, and others, and focus on the "now."
Even if that suggestion seems to make logical sense (and I am suggesting that it does) do you think we could ever do that?
Well, we might pray!
Image Credits:(1) - https://anglicanconnection.com/forgive-us-our-trespasses/
(2) - https://www.laurabachynski.com/blog/xfaceiaphhs809l2khlqrit699e8nf
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