We’ve been studying the “Lord’s Prayer” for the past several weeks, but we’re going to skip over its next phrase because it no longer applies to 21st century American Christians. Why ask God for forgiveness when we don’t sin anymore?
“Sin is what bad people do! I’m basically good. I don’t swear; I don’t cheat on my spouse; I don’t treat people harshly. And on the positive side of the spiritual ledger, I volunteer my time at the local fire company; I coach a little league team; I drop my tithe into the church offering plate every week. I even bake a chocolate cake for my pastor several times per year – in lieu of going to confession. I’m a really good guy!”
Admittedly, I’m being more than a tad facetious. None us claims to be without sin. Yet I’m pretty convinced we have so marginalized, rationalized and/or justified our sin, that we’ve virtually erased it, not out of our vocabulary, but out of the realm of our conviction.
Here’s what I believe has happened: we’ve redefined sin; we’ve lowered the standard of what constitutes sin in order to satisfy our conscience. Or to put it another way, we’ve failed to see our sin as God sees it; we’ve redefined His definition of it.
So no, I’m not going to skip past those oh-so-familiar words in the “Lord’s Prayer,” “Forgive us our sins.” And perhaps you won’t skip past this invitation to join us this Sunday as we probe this Pardon portion of this prayer.