It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
I am preparing a class on the St. Francis prayer. I am both excited and nervous about leading this class. I have never done anything like this, yet I am excited to share what I have learned about this prayer with my church. My hope is this prayer will help others live the call of the Gospel.
This prayer while not necessarily straight from St. Francis is a portrait of the life he led. This was his life. From the moment he saw his first vision until his death he lived the words of this prayer. He might never have said or written these words, but his life is an example of what it means to live this prayer. He was and still is a vibrant example of the gospel life. While this prayer may or may not be original with St. Francis it describes not only who St. Francis was, but also what a life following Christ really looks like.
I would like to reflect on each line. I have posted my thoughts on this prayer once before and you can find that blog here: https://godwrestler.wordpress.com/2011/10/06/a-personal-look-at-the-st-francis-prayer
I may even write a book based on this prayer.
We now are looking at the third and final section of the prayer, which goes deeper into what it means to pray and live the first seven imperatives. The prayer begins with seven imperatives and then expands on what it means by those seven imperatives. This line of the prayer is about forgiving and reminds us that we forgive because we have been forgiven, so we should extend the same. This prayer is about living in such a way that we provide others with the hope, light, love, and joy they need. As we forgive, we receive healing and consolation. By forgiving those who have wronged us, we experience the presence of God.
We all owe a debt we couldn’t possibly pay and that is why Jesus went to the cross for us. Jesus died for us, so that we may live for him. We live for him every time we love, offer forgiveness, have faith, increase hope, walk in the light of God, and spread joy. This line is asking that we forgive those who hurt us, because we have been forgiven for our sins. We are not asking for God to erase what happened or make things right, but for the power to forgive. We ask for the spirit of forgiveness to Oscar Wilde said, “Always forgive your enemies; nothing annoys them so much.”
It is not easy to forgive, to look past our hurt, but our willingness to pray these lines will help us to step beyond our hurt. Forgiving is not something we do just for another. We also do it for ourselves. Harboring ill will towards another always twists our soul. In forgiving, we free ourselves of the darkness that is eating away at us. The more we want to forgive and the more we pray these lines the more able we will be to forgive. It will take time and cost us something, but it is worth all of it. Each time we forgive we are reminded of the love God has for us to sacrifice his son to forgive us our debt.
Is there something you need to forgive? Maybe, today is the day you forgive.