“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.” (Mt 6:12, from the Lord’s Prayer)
I have heard many people say that when they try to pray, they feel there’s some invisible wall between them and God; as if the prayer doesn’t “get through.” This state of affairs can last for many years, or just happen sometimes, on occasion. When it happens to me, I am reminded of this verse in the Lord’s Prayer, which points me to the most obvious culprit in my predicament: resentment.
That is to say, I might be (perhaps quietly) clinging onto some wrong done against me, either by my own self, or some other person or group of people, or close family, or some institution, like my workplace, my government, or even my church. Resentments often go way back, even though recent incidents trigger old feelings of frustration, neglect, hurt, etc. It is important for me to take some time and “clean my house” of any resentments, letting go of the delusion that somehow, through my resentment, I achieve the “justice” I deserve. Because I “know” I’m right, you see. This sense of “justice,” bred in resentment, eats away not only at my human relationships, but prevents my communion with God. I can’t even pray the Lord’s Prayer honestly, while clinging to resentment.
So let me look to God’s justice and His grace to help me forgive myself and others. Because when I say “Our Father,” rather than “My Father,” I am reminded that He forgives me as well as others, time and again. And this He does, over and over again, although He knows He was right, when we were wrong. He is free from holding grudges, and wants us to be free, like Him.