FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US
It is easier for a man to trespass against Thy laws then to understand them, O Father. But it is not easy for Thee to forgive us all our trespasses if we are not forgiving towards those who trespass against us. For Thou didst establish the universe upon measure and order. How could this balance be retained in the universe if Thou observes one measure towards us, and we observe another measure towards our neighbors? Or if Thou givest bread to us while we give a stone to our neighbors? Or if Thou forgives us our sins while we are hanging our neighbors for theirs? How then could the measure and order in the universe be preserved, O lawful Father?
Yet behold, Thou forgives us more then we can forgive our brothers. We defile the earth every day and night with our crimes, while Thou greetest us every day through the undimmed eye of Thy sun, and every night sendest Thy merciful forgiveness through the stars, those shining sentinels at the gate of Thy court, our Kingly Father!
Thou makest us ashamed every day, O most Merciful. For when we are expecting punishment Thou sendest to us Thy mercy; when we are expecting Thy thunders Thou sendest to us a quiet evening; and when we are expecting darkness Thou sendest to us the sunshine. Thou art always sublime above our sins, and always magnificent in Thy silent patience.
Woe to the fool who hopes to trouble Thee with a sacrilegious word! He is like the boy who angrily cast a grain of sand into the sea in order to drive the whole sea from its place. But the sea only silently folds over the skin of its surface, revealing thereby the meagerness of angry weakness in the face of the ocean’s immense power.
Behold, all our sins are common, and we all are responsible for the sins of all. Therefore, there are not on earth pure righteous men. For all the righteous must take upon themselves some of the sins of the sinners. It is difficult to be an immaculately righteous man, because there is no righteous one who does not bear upon his back at least one sinner. But how is it, O Father – give me to understand how it is that the more a righteous man bears the sinners’ sins, the more righteous he is?
Our Heavenly Father, who art sending bread from morning to evening to all Thy children and art receiving their sins in payment, make less heavy the burden of the righteous ones, and illumine the darkness of sinners.
The earth is full of sins, but full of prayers, too; it is full of the prayers of the righteous and of the despair of sinners. Is not despair the beginning of prayer?
Thou must be the Victor after all. Thy Kingdom will be founded upon the prayers of the righteous. Thy Will will become the law for men as it is the law for the angels.
Well then, why should our Father hesitate to forgive trespasses to mortals, thereby giving them and example of forgiveness and mercy?