Love asks for forgiveness (Love prays pt 11)

by Craig on April 1, 2011

Yesterday I felt the need to write about forgiveness. Today I figured out why.

I forgot, we’re in the middle of a series on the Lord’s Prayer.

The next part of it is, “forgive us our trespasses”. (or debts, or transgressions)

We’ve all memorized this part different ways. So which one is “right”?

Well there is a word for “sin”, in the New Testament, and it’s not this one. The word for sin is

ἁμαρτία

(pronounced hamartia – emphasis on the “ti” – and with the always necessary Greek accent and appropriate hand gestures.).

I know it’s a technical thing. But it’s a completely different word in The Lords’ Prayer.

A really deep study of this word is more something I’d tackle on Deep into Scripture, and it’s now on the list, believe me. Because I want to go really deep, like:

how the Greeks used it

you know,

guys like Plato and such.

And when they translated the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek, which Hebrew word was it used translate?

And dig into the derivation of both of the biblical languages – and all the different uses.

But all that study isn’t gonna get me to a different place, it’s just gonna tell me why I arrived “here”.

And this is “here”.

The word used in The Lord’s Prayer means “a falling away after being close” or “a deviation from what’s true” or “a mis-step, a slip up, a mistake” – and sometimes it’s even an unintentional one.

So it’s broader in scope then the more narrow word for “sin”

Sins? Well they’re pretty easy to spot. I lie – sin. I steal – sin.

But what about if I doubt? Is that a sin?

Or what if I skip church?

What about when I used to make a living by playing poker? I did the research. There isn’t a direct command against it. If it was a “sin” Catholics wouldn’t have Bingo Nights. And we’d never be able to have a church “raffle” – or a Christian blog “giveaway” – if “winners” are picked by random chance.

I wrestled with the Poker thing. It may not have been sin. But it wasn’t right either. I wrote about that here.

The doubting, skipping church, professional poker playing – these are “transgressions and trespasses” and I need to ask forgiveness for them, as well as sin.

Because God said so.

And he is the boss of me.

The word covers sins too. But the one thing this word doesn’t mean is “debt”. I can’t wait to figure out why sometimes “forgive us our debts” is used.

Anyway, the bottom line of love is this.

This is the part of the Lords Prayer I talk with God about the things I’ve done which have moved me further away from him – and ask forgiveness. Not all of them, by the way, just one or two.

My knees are weak and my sins are many.

And Love demands I do this because “Love does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth” (1 Cor 13:6)

And guess what?

In the Greek, “wrongdoing” is even a different word than “sin” or “trespass”.

So I guess I’ll be looking at that one too.

This is a little more complicated than I thought.

But I heart it!!!

Love hearts knowing “God” stuff. No?

In God’s love.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Cora April 1, 2011 at 8:54 am

Craig, I’m old enough to be one of those who grew up saying the Lord’s Prayer in public schools. Some of us said “trespasses” and some said “debts”. I always wondered about that, too, but not enough that I ever asked anyone or looked it up somewhere. I’m glad I tuned in early this morning. This had to be the most convicting thing I’ve read — perhaps because of those few words you used in the explanation of the meaning of the word. I felt my heart skip a beat and start pounding harder as I read “a falling away after being close.” I saw me walking away from my best Friend, my Shepherd and I saw the look on His face. The rest is between me and Him. I just want to say thank you. This has changed everything for me today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!!

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Craig April 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Cora – it’s the first time I looked at it too – and it is convicting. At first I thought maybe it answered my question “Why do I have to ask forgiveness if it’s already given?” – but no – the narrower word “sin” would be part of the more general term “transgression” – not all transgressions are sins – but all sins are transgressions – hmmmm – I think that’s a post.

Anyway Cora I am glad I got to writ this for you. I heart the way God times things. God Bless you in your walk Cora – and thank you.

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Vicki April 1, 2011 at 10:11 am

Hello! This is an amazing blog…thank you for your lovely comment on mine. I am just learning all of these bible things – and I learn a lot from blogs like yours! Have a blessed weekend….
off to visit your scripture one too…

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Craig April 1, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Vicki – “just learning” all the Bible things is an exciting place to be – everything will be new. The really good news is that 50 years from now – even if you study like crazy – there will still be plenty new to be had. God is ever the same and never the same. God bless you and thank you for being here – I hope you have a blessed weekend too.

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jackie April 1, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I wanted to say thank you for praying for me a couple of weeks ago. I find the timing of my Lenten experience to be God provided. A working out of maturity in myself, initially I was wanting to run from the pain and confusion, but time and prayer (yours included) is showing me that I am experiencing discipline not punishment and it would benefit me to stop avoiding the pain and to start spending more time with my Abba. At any rate I really appreciate your writing and the way you break it down and make it so accessible.

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Craig April 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm

Amen Jackie – after all, who wants pain, and pain from discipline – though it’s better than pain – well – pain – it still hurts. A long time ago I heard a preacher say “only pagans waste their pain”. If we’re gonna have it – we may as well understand that God will use it to make us more like him – if we let him. Thank you for your really kind words. God Bless you and the process you’re undergoing.

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Debbie April 1, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Thank you friend Craig! Asking Him to forgive anything that took me away from Him today. What a blessing He is providing us in your posts! God bless you and keep you close today!

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Craig April 2, 2011 at 10:32 am

I’ve thought about this a lot – there are things that defintely take us away from him, and some that draw us to him, and some that do neither – I’m thinking the neither and the “drawing toward” things are ok – but then some of the “neither” things are questionable too – Hmmm – still thinking. Thank you as always Deb – God bless you – and keep you close too.

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A. April 2, 2011 at 1:41 pm

This is so helpful to learn what words really mean. I wonder why translators make the decisions they make….I am sure there are more reasons than one.

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Craig April 2, 2011 at 2:16 pm

I know every time a preacher gets all educate – and I’ve done it too – and says “but what the words “really” mean – somebody out there loses a little faith in the Word.

Translators have tough decisions to make sometimes – sometimes a word for word translation leads something that loses the original meaning – and context plays a part. This one – all the translations are good – except “debt” because that really enlarges things in a way the text doesn’t call for. It makes me think of what I owe God – and yes that’s a ton, more than anyone could repay – but it’s not what this verse says – so maybe that’s what they were going for – you know – a word that’s more than sin and more inclusive – I don’t know for sure – I think, if I remember – I’ll be looking it. Maybe a post on how translators do their jobs might be a good idea. No?

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A. April 2, 2011 at 6:30 pm

That would be interesting, Craig. I am sure I have little if any idea how complex the task must be.

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Michelle April 3, 2011 at 3:19 am

The word used in The Lord’s Prayer means “a falling away after being close” or “a deviation from what’s true” or “a mis-step, a slip up, a mistake” – and sometimes it’s even an unintentional one.

This is so good coming after a day on God Spaces. Thank you. You seem to re-iterate and explain things God has been saying to me (and I know I’m not the only one). Thank you for being faithful.

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Craig April 3, 2011 at 8:57 am

We are all in the same classroom Michelle. So I guess it isn’t that uncommon that we should be needing to learn the same lessons. Problem is I’m the kid who’s looking out the window instead of paying attention most of the time. God bless you.

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Michelle April 3, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I think we’re all guilty of a little(or lot) of window gazing

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Layla Payton April 3, 2011 at 5:19 pm

Wow, what a great blog! I love it when people dig deep, and look for the bigger picture. I will enjoy following your posts. Thanks so much for the kind words you left on my blog. To answer your question (since my reply button is not working at the moment), I am not personally a carpenter. My earthly father is, as well as my Heavenly Father, Who came to this earth as a lowly carpenter. So, this title has two meanings for me. While I can’t built anything on my own, I have been around it enough to know the lessons that can be learned from good, quality craftsmanship. I guess you could say, I am still learning the “trade.” :)

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Craig April 3, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Layla – really thank you for the kind words. I look forward to reading more of you. There is so much of Our Lord – and do I learn from the digging deep – and I learn even more from the amazing people that read me – and then comment. And even more from reading them – and now you – and it all revolves around our Carpenter. And thank you for answering my question. I learned from your answer. See. It all circles back to him. A long as it does that – we’re in the right place – right time – His time. Thank you very much again – and God Bless you.

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Sharon @ Hiking Toward Home May 13, 2011 at 5:58 am

Thanks for the word study. I often wondered about that difference. Thanks for explaining it so simply.

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Craig May 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Sharon – I didn’t even know the difference existed till researching this post. Amazing how we can know so much – and yet know so little. I heart that you read me – thank you more than I can say. God bless.

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