In the original Rocky movie, when Rocky wanted to take Adrian ice skating, he was told that the ice rink was closed. He asked, “Is it closed to everybody or just to the general public?”
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray what we call The Lord’s Prayer, which includes asking our Father who art in heaven to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” was he intending that only those twelve individuals pray that prayer or was it meant for the general public as well?
Like Rocky, I don’t always want to be part of just the general public. Maybe I don’t want to forgive those who trespass against me. Nevertheless, I do recommend that those in the general public ought to be forgiving. I like to be forgiven by others and certainly I want to be forgiven by God.
Of course, Christians believe that Jesus died for the sins of everyone, to redeem everyone. Everyone is in the general public.
Unfortunately, we do not always behave as we believe.
Have you had the experience of telling a fellow Christian that you have been hurt by that person and instead of being asked for forgiveness, such as a simple, “I am sorry,” had that person explain to you why you should not have been hurt? Disregarding your feelings. Or explain why you deserved to be hurt. No remorse. No apology. Why? Because the “hurter” will not accept blame and is unrepentant. Too good. Too superior. Too “Christian?”
On the flip side, have you asked a Christian brother or sister to forgive you and been ignored? Or refused. Imagine a fellow sinner withholding forgiveness from someone whom Christ died for. How can any Christian be too good to forgive another? Isn’t that disregarding what Christ has accomplished on the cross?
Apparently, such Christians are blind to the applicability of Jesus’ words to them. Apparently, they do not see themselves as part of the general public. Apparently, they deem themselves special.
Jesus was upset by similarly self-righteous attitudes by the Pharisees of his day. He said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you put burdens on others that you yourselves are unwilling to bear.”
Feeling superior about one’s righteousness might be comfortable for such persons, but I fear they missed the point of Jesus’ gospel. They would be well-advised to acknowledge being part of the general public because Jesus came to save everyone.
Abraham Lincoln said, “God must especially love the common folks because he made so many of them.”