“Do you know what forgiveness means? It’s a decision we make to release a person from the feelings of anger we have against them.” (Mr Rogers in the film "A beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.")
This isn't a film review, but I very much enjoyed this film, which explores forgiveness and what it looks like.
Jesus put forgiveness at the heart of prayer. The word Jesus used for 'forgiveness' is a word that means to leave, to leave alone, or to put some distance in between.
I was brought up in Scotland where we recited the line as 'forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.' When I moved to England I was taken by surprise when people said 'forgive us our trespasses.' I mentioned this to my friends and they made some comments about the Scots and money.
But in Matthew's gospel it does say, "forgive us our debts." It's not just about the times people sin against us; it's about the times when we feel that we are owed something. To forgive someone, then, is to walk away from the idea that they owe us something, which we often do feel when we are sinned against.
So we pray that God will forgive our debts, and we forgive the debts of others. And we do it at our church together, every Sunday. It matters.