Sometimes we do things.  They’re not us – at least we don’t want them to be us.  But we do them, we regret them, we don’t mean for them to be who or what we are.  Yet, there they are for all to see and remember.  And in remembering those sometimes awful things, we forget about all that really is good and pure and hopeful.  We – and those who remember with us – think we are those awful things, and the truth of our being and nature becomes opaque.

But those moments of unkindness or uncertainty or insensitivity or (fill in the blank) are just snapshots and not the whole movie – even if the snapshot feels feature-length (or someone else tells you it is)!

Jesus said, in what has become known as The Lord’s Prayer, forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.  (Matt 6:12)  I don’t think he was talking about financial transactions.  He knew that the human tendency is to focus on the problem.  But a good solution never comes from that.  The best results happen by looking away from the issue.  This enables thought to be more expansive and fresh.

And so it is with our life snapshots.  As with any photo, it never tells the whole story, even if it records a moment – or moments – in time.  The whole story is told by God.  And learning more about what God is saying helps to redeem those moments that seem ungodlike.   The Bible says that “God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.”  (Gen 1:31)  If we look away from our snapshots or even greater spans of time, into that view God holds of “very goodness,” aren’t we bound to see ourselves and others differently?  And isn’t that new, higher view a wonderful standpoint from which to forgive?

Back to Jesus’ prayer: you’ll note that he didn’t just ask his Father to forgive us, but required us to have some skin in the game too.  He said as we forgive our debtors.   That means that we must participate in the process by relinquishing the negative snapshots we hold of ourselves and others, removing them one by one from our mental photo albums.  Doing so lets in a whole lot of divine light which wipes away the hurt and fear and resentment.  And aren’t we ourselves better people when we’re not filled with such darkness?

We can – we must – do this for each other.  Even if it seems hard, or impossible.  Because it’s the only way to move forward into real life, real happiness.

Mary Baker Eddy adds a little postscript to that line about forgiveness from The Lord’s Prayer: she says that to her it means that Love [another name for God] is reflected in love.  (Science and Health p. 17)  Sweet and simple.

Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link.  If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.