by James Merritt

To Err Is Human, To Forgive Divine
James Merritt
Matthew 6:12


1. There are two especially crucial times in any airplane flight--the takeoff and the landing. I don't know too much about the takeoff, but I do know something about the landing. I have learned that there are basically three keys to a successful landing: you must have the wings level, the wheels down, and the nose up. In other words, the relationship between the wings, the wheels, and the nose, must be right.

2. Likewise, the keys to making a safe landing in life depend on certain relationships being right. There is the internal relationship with self. Then there is the external relationship with others. Then there is the eternal relationship with God. Just like the airplane, these relationships are interdependent. If you are right with God, and right with others, then you will be right with your self.

3. Contradistinctively, if the eternal relationship with God is wrong, then internally you will experience guilt. If the external relationship with others with wrong, then internally you will experience bitterness.

4. If you think about it, there are only two things that can come between you and God. One is unforgiven sin. Psalm 66:18 says, ''If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear.'' The other is an unforgiving spirit. ''For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.'' (Matthew 6:14-15) With this petition ''forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,'' the Lord Jesus shows us how to overcome the grief of guilt, and the blight of bitterness. The only remedy for guilt is the forgiveness from heaven; and the only remedy for bitterness is the forgiveness of heaven.

5. For guilt we need to receive forgiveness for our sin against God. So we are to pray, ''forgive us our debts.'' For bitterness we need to render forgiveness ...

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