Forgive others (Mk 11:25-11:25)

“Whenever you stand

Praying,

Forgive,

If you have anything

Against anyone!

Thus,

Your Father

In heaven

May also forgive you

Your trespasses.”

 

καὶ ὅταν στήκετε προσευχόμενοι, ἀφίετε εἴ τι ἔχετε κατά τινος, ἵνα καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ἀφῇ ὑμῖν τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν.

 

This saying about forgiveness seems similar to Matthew, chapter 6:14, that came right after the “Our Father” prayer.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that whenever they would stand and pray (καὶ ὅταν στήκετε προσευχόμενοι), they should forgive (ἀφίετε) others, especially if they have anything against anyone (εἴ τι ἔχετε κατά τινος).  Then their heavenly Father would forgive them (ἵνα καὶ ὁ Πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ἀφῇ ὑμῖν) for their missteps or trespasses (τὰ παραπτώματα ὑμῶν).  What are these trespasses?  The Greek word “τὰ παραπτώματα” means to fall away after being close, a lapse, a deviation from the truth, an error, a slip up, relatively unconscious, or non-deliberate.  Apparently, this was not a serious offense, something like daily implied insensitive insults.  However, they still had to forgive these trespasses of others to be forgiven by the heavenly father.  You can see how the idea of trespasses came to be so important in the “Our Father,” “The Lord’s Prayer.”

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The Sermon on the Mount

Matthew had 3 chapters devoted to Jesus and his preaching on the mount or hill.  This Sermon on the Mount is a collection of sayings and teachings of Jesus that emphasize his moral teaching, the first of his 5 discourses. early in the ministry of Jesus.  Luke had something similar in his sermon on the plain.  This sermon is the longest continuous section of Jesus speaking in the New Testament, containing the central tenets of Christian discipleship.  Thus, it had become the most widely quoted and best known of the teachings of Jesus, with the Beatitudes and the Lord’s Prayer.  These Jesus sayings echo the highest ideals of Jesus’ teachings on spirituality and compassion with acts of mercy, providing both temporal and spiritual benefits.  Jesus also used many metaphors in his sermon.  He reinterpreted the Ten Commandments, particularly about lying, killing and adultery.  The teachings of this sermon have been a key element of Christian ethics with its demanding high moral standards.  Christians were to be perfect with a Christian righteousness.  There have been many different interpretations of this demanding ethical life.  Was this only for clergy and monks?  Is it only an impossible ideal?  Should we take this literally?  Is this only an interim ethic or a future ethic?  Is this the basis of the social gospel and Christian existentialism?  What value do these ideals have for our lives today?