The Need to Forgive – Matthew 6:12b, 14, 15 & 18:21-35
In verse 12 Jesus not only teaches his disciples to pray, “ . . . forgive us our debts . . .”, He qualifies it with “ . . . as we also have forgiven our debtors . . .”
To be honest with you, I would really like to skip this part of the verse, because it messes with my theology. If this was all Jesus said about it, I could probably sweep it under the rug and forget it.
Unfortunately Jesus must have known that we would be tempted to do just that, so He goes even farther with it in verses 14 & 15: “
For if you forgive others their
trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive
others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Just in
case we don’t get it yet He reiterates this same teaching in a parable in chapter 18.
This one has been debated theologically by much greater minds than mine for
centuries, so I am not even going to attempt to explain it. But it is clear. We are
commanded to forgive, not just superficially, but like we’ve been forgiven. Fully!
If someone has sinned against you, forgiveness is not saying it is ok. If it were ok,
you wouldn’t have anything to forgive. If you have been sinned against, then the
person who sinned against you now owes you a debt. Forgiveness is letting the debt
go. Forgiveness is marking the debt, “paid in full”. Yes forgiveness will cost you
something. Jesus Christ died on a cross to pay the price to forgive your sins. Pass
His forgiveness on. Forgive your debtor.
Do you have a hard time praying? Does it feel like your prayers don’t get any further
than the ceiling? If so, check your heart. There is a good possibility you’re holding
on to someone else’s debt.
Forgiveness isn’t easy. If you are struggling with forgiveness tell Jesus about it, you
won’t surprise Him. Thank Him for forgiving you and ask Him to help you
understand the depth of what that cost Him. When we really understand the depth
of His forgiveness, we are better prepared to offer that same forgiveness to someone
When you finish praying write down here what the Lord is teaching you: