|This link is an essay by Emmet Fox. It is his
intepretation. I tried to clean up
all the typos in the original someone put on the Web, but there might
be a couple I missed.
He starts out by expanding upon the first two words of the Lord's Prayer as a foundational truth for existence, the meaning and and the purpose of forgiveness and everything else. Like, why forgive?
Two words "Our Father" says
a) God is our Creator, and is like an all-loving, all-knowing father, kind, benevolent, protective. (unlike some earthly fathers ... for that era, Fox insists that most fathers are kind, benevolent, protective and mean, hurtful, and negligent fathers are a such rarity that they make the newspaper as a scandal ... which I think was idealistic and naive, but anyhow ...)
b) WE are all God's Children and are humbled by such Knowledge, as we literally require His love and protection due to the basic nature of our being, as a plant requires sunlight, and we should follow his guidance just as children should follow the guidance of their parents who seek to protect them from harm and help them grow up.
c) WE are all brothers and sisters, literally, every single one of us has a common spiritual Father or common spiritual root, regardless of our separate parents and unique circumstances. People with whom we disagree, people who are jackasses, remain our brothers and sisters, first and foremost.
d) Refusing to acknowledge (c) by continuing to seek revenge or simply by refusing to forgive, means that we are also denying ourselves the experience and reality and realness of (b) and (c), and thus banishing ourselves from experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven ... right now! We are denying ourselves deep happiness and joy and peace. The Big Book says that resentment "shuts out the Sunlight of the Spirit".
Resentment, when it is not processed and resolved via the steps and prayer, blocks us from fully experiencing God, which is Love. Taking that resentment --- and taking a moment or a week or however long is necessary to analyze and re-analyze WHAT within our being was hurt --- and then taking that hurt to God, this allows us to simultaneously ask God to forgive and bless the other person, help us to forgive the other person by healing our hurt, and to receive forgiveness for ourselves, which is another spiritual healing function beyond the healing of the original harm done to us.
Refusing to forgive, means refusing to accept forgiveness, which means being stuck with unresolved guilt for our own mistakes. We make mistakes, we harbor mistaken and imperfect understandings which lead us to mistakes, or errors, or sins if you will, we therefore have guilt whether we consciously acknowledge it or not, and this needs to be resolved, spiritually, daily.
Unresolved blame also means holding ourselves to a standard of perfectionism, the same level of mistakelessness and confusion we demand of others.
Oooh, I just re-tranlated Emmet Fox's translation of the Bible. I think it is helpful to retranslate spiritual things into common language -- we do this mentally anyhow -- so long as we don't re-translate the meaning out of it, or retranslate incompatible and false meanings into it. Just as every intelligent person has the means to mentally interpret any spiritual text --- and we all DO interpret words and meanings whether we know it or not, we have to, especially words which are more conceptual than concrete --- we have the ability to check out other interpretations, and to ask God if these interpretations are acceptable, to ask for guidance on understanding them and applying them with intelligence and wisdom.
One-size-fits-all spiritual interpretations are clumsy, and render us as robots rather than intelligent spirtual creations capable of receiving wisdom.
Emmet Fox writes with some of the language and prejudices of the 1930's at times, BUT the main points are pretty solid. I don't take the part 100% literally about EVERY problem solveable by prayer alone, but almost, since our lives and our reactions and our reality is a reflection of our internal selves ... which prayer heals.
We see our own reality, and we project much of our selves onto the world around us, and it responds to both who we are Being at a given moment, and who we are Being inside overall.
I say "who we are Being" rather than "who we are" because the former highlights our fluidity and our ability to allow God to change us at root, while the latter implies a fixed permanent state. I found I had layers and more hidden layers of ugliness (hurt, fear) inside, and I reacted to that, and my "world" was a reflection of that. I'm not talking about "Sin" or "evil", except to the degree we consider fear and it's cousins to be actual evil, or as the AA Big Book says, "worse than stealing".
I also found I had to simultaneously accept my shortcomings in the present moment, since that is something I cannot change Now, and yet refuse to passively accept my shortcomings as a permanent state. Sometimes, however, God merely showing me what I believe to be my shortcomings in a different light, renders them actually very OK. Short people can't be tall, tall people can't be short, obsessive people have a natural gift for obsession [think Albert Einstein], while non-obsessive people have a natural gift of being easygoing, which some call "irresponsible". Sometimes it's just relative.
Fox is talking about Intelligent or Scientific Prayer, which would be prayer with an understanding of the underlaying spiritual principles. To him, prayers are special high precision tools for the spirit, like a lathe or a drill press, which produce specific spiritual outcomes. They are more than "sayings", they are tools in the sense that they produce internal and thus external results which may be unfathomable. But the internal results are more important and more substantial than the external manifestations of spiritual change.