What does it mean to say, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”?
Merciful forgiveness – the mercy that we show to others and the mercy that we ourselves seek – is indivisible. If we ourselves are not merciful and do not forgive one another, God’s mercy will not reach our hearts. Many people have a lifelong struggle with their inability to forgive. The deep blockade of being unreconciled is resolved only by looking to God, who adopted us “while we were yet sinners” (Rom 5:8). Because we have a kind Father, forgiveness and reconciliation in life are possible.
Because every day and every hour we are in danger of falling into sin and saying ‘No’ to God, we beg God not to leave us defenseless in the power of temptation. Jesus, who was tempted himself, knows that we are weak human beings, who have little strength of our own with which to oppose the evil one. He graciously gives us the petition from the Our Father, which teaches us to trust in God’s assistance in the hour of trial.