Christian Forgiveness and The ‘Lord’s Prayer’ Test

“I know that I am a young man, and I know that I have not seen all there is to see in this life. However, in my short life I have experienced many wounds and hurts. I have also come to learn that learning to forgive is essential in moving along with God. There are times I have stood in my pulpit claiming not to have a grudge against anyone while deep down, my heart was full of hurt. This is so for many, many Christians.” Bishop Dag Heward Mills.

Ephesians 4:24, 31, 32 says

“And that ye put on the NEW MAN… Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

The Bible tells us that when we are born again, we become “new men”, or “new creatures”. When a man becomes a doctor or an army officer, he is expected to behave in a certain way. In the same way, a certain pattern of behaviour is expected of anyone who claims to be a Christian or a “new man”. One of the primary qualities of a new man is that he forgives. The new man should not live in unforgiveness. According to biblical principles, the new man must not live his life according to what goes on in this world. In the world, people hardly forgive. It is natural for a person not to forgive, but to seek revenge. However, when you become a new man, God expects you to forgive. Indeed, one cardinal difference between the Christian and the unbeliever is that the Christian has the ability to forgive and release the offender. A new man must be able to forgive!

The Lord’s Prayer Test

Now, how can you be sure that you have forgiven somebody? Often we say, “I have forgiven. I have nothing in my heart against him.” However, you will find that there is still a grudge you bear somewhere in your heart. As a pastor, I have stood in the pulpit and said that I had nothing against anybody. But in reality, I had something against someone. I thought that I had forgiven the person. Unknowingly, I had not. Later into the year, I realized that I really hadn’t forgiven this person. Through my search of the Scriptures, the Lord showed me what I call “The Lord’s Prayer test”.

This is a test to prove whether you have truly forgiven your offenders.

The Test

Pray the Lord’s Prayer. Keep praying. When you get to the point where you refer to those who trespass against you, you should specifically mention the name of the person who offended you. It is important to specifically mention the name of that person. So the prayer becomes for example, “…And forgive me for my trespasses, as I forgive Araba Lucy.” In other words, “If I have not forgiven Araba Lucy for her sins against me, please do not forgive me!!!” If you are able to pray like that, asking God to forgive you specifically in relation to your forgiveness of certain people in your life, it is very likely that you have forgiven them.

However, if you cannot mention the person by name in this prayer, then you have not forgiven! Think of that man who promised to marry you. You waited for him for six years. But he deceived you and ruined your life. Remember, you need to forgive even him. Insert his name into The Lord’s Prayer, to see whether you have really forgiven him.

Apply The Lord’s Prayer test to every ugly or unpleasant situation you have ever encountered. This will help you to determine whether you have truly forgiven the person, because you need to do so!

– Forgiveness made easy by Bishop Dag Heward Mills