(May 30, 2015)
Both times the Lord gives the Lord’s Prayer, He concludes with an aside reiterating a truth from the prayer – we are only forgiven to the extent that we forgive others. Nibley said that there are two blessings we have for which the angels envy us (paraphrasing him) – the ability to repent and the ability to forgive. When we get focused on the sins of others, we really lose the capacity to do either of these things. Looking at others’ sins cause us to neglect the self-examination necessary to free us from our personal sins (we do not repent, because the problem is ‘out there’ rather than within us). And when we focus on the sins of others, we can often fixate on them and lose track of our capacity to forgive.
Once this happens, we are lost no matter how outwardly righteous we may be (because if we fail in one aspect of the law, we have failed in them all – and perfection is beyond us). In this dangerous position, our only hope is to turn to the Lord and pray earnestly for the capacity to forgive and the ability to focus on our own mistakes rather than looking to the mistakes of others.