A little while ago I ran across a self-help book written by a Mormon. I read through it quickly and found nothing particularly interesting or novel in it, just standard, good self-help advice. Then I came across this prayer:
“Lord, help me to forgive those who sin differently than I do.”
That line has stayed with me. I can’t say that I have actually prayed it much, but I have thought a great deal about it. It’s a prayer that gets around: I’ve even seen the prayer on Orthodox websites.
Somehow it is very difficult to forgive those who sin in ways I don’t understand, who suffer temptations I do not suffer, whose weaknesses seem to me to be mere excuses for laziness or excess. There are certain sins, even great sins, that I can understand. I can forgive people certain sins (eventually) even if they have hurt me. Other sins are harder to forgive.
The older I get, the easier it is for me to forgive. I guess I see more sins in myself, so it is easier to forgive others. As it turns out, I seem to sin just about the same way everyone else does.
But still some weaknesses in others are hard for me to forgive. Perhaps as I get to know myself better, it will become easier.
Lord, help me to forgive those who sin differently than I do.