On the Forgiving of Trespasses

In the Gospel of Matthew, two of the Master's teachings relative to the forgiving of our trespasses stand out in bold relief; and both convey lessons of signal moment for all striving to conform their lives to the Christ-ideal. The first lesson pertains to one who in seeking forgiveness follows the ancient custom of going to the altar to offer a gift. Jesus taught that to be forgiven one must make sure that he is not holding aught erroneous against his brother; that is to say, in order to secure his own forgiveness he must have ceased to hold another in error and, likewise, to cherish the thought of injury or wrong imposed upon him by another. This in substance accords perfectly with the conditions of forgiveness for which we petition in the Lord's Prayer: "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors." We ask divine Love to forgive us through removing from thought all belief in evil as having reality and power; and forgiveness is thus conditioned upon the forgiving on our own part of all enmity, all ill will, all unfriendly thoughts regarding another, and of like thoughts possibly held by another regarding ourselves.

Our debts to divine Love must be canceled before we ourselves may receive forgiveness. Could law be more just and scientific? Forgiveness of sin—and sin in the ultimate analysis includes all types of false belief—is accomplished only as we ourselves cease sinning, and only as we cease to hold our brother in bondage to evil influence, rather seeing him in his true character as the son of God, free from every evil trait.

Refreshment and Invigoration
June 15, 1929

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