Forgive Us Our Debts
As We Forgive Our Debtors
Even though this prayer is made so often that we seldom really think about the words, most of us are probably very sincere about the first half of this, “Forgive us our debts.” We want God to forgive our sins. We recognize the need for forgiveness. But so many recite “as we forgive our debtors” only because it is part of the prayer.
Have you really forgiven everyone who has wronged you? Have you forgiven the unforgiveable? The drunk driver who killed your parent, or your spouse, or your child? Have you forgiven the person who broke into your house and took everything you own? Have you forgiven your spouse for his/her betrayal? Have you forgiven the con-man who swindled you out of your life’s savings? Have you forgiven the one who started a nasty rumor about you?
Forgiveness is so important that it is the first thing that Jesus talks about when He finishes.
Matthew 6:14-15 “14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
He is very plainspoken. If we refuse to forgive others, He will not forgive us.
Matthew 18:23-35 “23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven
likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.
24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him,
which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he
had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife,
and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying,
Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.
27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion,
and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But the same servant went out,
and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence:
and he laid hands on him, and took [him] by the throat, saying,
Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet,
and besought him, saying, Have patience with me,
and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison,
till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done,
they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him,
O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt,
because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had
compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors,
till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my
heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts
forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
“But you don’t understand.” You say. “What he did to me was so horrible, so heinous, that I can’t possibly forgive him.”
God does not differentiate between sins. He does not recognize any difference between venial sins and mortal sins. The penalty is the same for any violation of God’s law.
James 2:10-13 “10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law,
and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all.
11 For he that said, Do not commit adultery,
said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery,
yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.
12 So speak ye, and so do, as they that shall be
judged by the law of liberty. 13 For he shall have judgment without mercy,
that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.”
The relative size of the sin doesn’t matter to God. That is man’s construct so that we can alleviate our own guilt or mete out a just punishment. What we did isn’t as bad as what the other person did. We can feel better about our own sins. But murder and petty theft are the same. They carry the same penalty.
Romans 6:23 “23 For the wages of sin [is] death;
but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
As there are no degrees of sin, there are no levels of forgiveness. It’s all or nothing. You either forgive, or you don’t.
Consider what it cost God the Father and the Word, Jesus, to grant you forgiveness. The terrible price that was paid. The Word became a mortal human –
John 1:14 “14 And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory,
the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,)
full of grace and truth.”
– and suffered and died in the most humiliating, horrific manner of the day.
When you carry your anger, you are not hurting anyone but yourself. You become bitter and old before your time. You become negative and unpleasant to be around.
What does it cost you to forgive someone who has wronged you?
I know that it may feel like you’re giving away a little piece of your soul. But if you forgive someone, truly forgive them, you will have an inner peace that will settle your heart.