Depending on your faith tradition, you’re probably familiar with the phrase above as it comes from the Lord’s prayer. Perhaps you learned it, Forgive us our tresspasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Or maybe, forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who have sinned against. All 3 of those phrases have the same meaning–an emphasis on the importance of forgiveness in our prayer life!
Matthew 6:14 “For if you forgive men their sins, your father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, the Lord will not forgive you.”
To forgive means total and complete release–to let it go.
Jesus instructs us that the first step in this aspect of the Lord’s prayer is we must first confess our sins to God.
The Greek word used here for debts is only used 2x in the New Testament. The other word for debt in the NT is used much more and it means a loan that you can repay. This is not the Greek word used here. This means a loan that is justly due, but you can never repay it. It is too much. It is what we would call bankruptcy debt. There is no possible way that you can ever pay it. That is how much we are in debt to God!
As we know, there is nothing we can do to earn God’s forgiveness. But, if you think God has forgiven you because you have earned your forgiveness, you will make others earn your forgiveness.
How many times have you said, “I’ve forgiven him but…” There is no but with forgiveness. It means total release. It means, we shall speak of this offense no more!
The reality is, you may never FORGET what someone has done to you, but you can release him or her from the debt. Scripture doesn’t say that God FORGETS our sins. If he forgot our sins, if he did, he would forget the majority of our lives! However, we do know that he forgives our sins.
If the Lord’s Prayer is a daily prayer, we need to ask for forgiveness daily and release others daily.
It doesn’t say, “forgive us our debts, IF we think about forgiving others.” It is AS WE FORGIVE OTHERS. It isn’t optional!
If you do not forgive others, God will not forgive you. What a powerful statement! Forgiveness is the only conditional statement in scripture!
If you have unforgiveness in your life someone is in torment—and that person is you! For some reason, we feel like holding back forgiveness from someone always us to fight back for what they’ve done to us. Unforgiveness is like drinking poison expecting it to harm the other person, when really it only harms you.
Holding on to unforgiveness is hindering your ability to receive forgiveness from God and your ability to be free.
My Dad always say, “Forgiveness is like giving your pain away.”
Every day we need forgiveness, and every day we need to forgive others! Let’s make it a daily aspect of our prayer lives.