Forgiveness may the hardest, and most Christ-like thing we are called to do. Today we face this verse: “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). Poet Alexander Pope was onto something when he penned: “To err is human, to forgive, divine.”
Jesus expects that we would pass on the grace, the forgiveness we have received. Thankfully, He provides His divine help to us erring humans. It was on the cross that Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
As His disciples, we are commanded: “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
(Ephesians 4:31-5:5 –ESV)
May the Lord prompt you to forgive–release from your debt–as you have been forgiven.
Forgiveness:The Hope and Hard Work
“and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”—Matthew 6:12
·Forgive:to send away (as in divorce), to let go, to omit, give up a debt, to remit
·Debt:that which is owed, justly or legally due, an offense, sin (1 John 2:6)
·Debtor:one who owes another, one held by some obligation (from Strong’s.)
·“Forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets”
The Hope of Forgiveness:“and forgive us our debts”
> Requires Honesty:I have sinned!I am guilty.
See Psalm 32, 51 “when I hid my sin”; 1 John 1:8-2:2
> Demands Humility:“Be merciful to me, a sinner . . .”
See Luke 15:21; 18:13, 14; Matthew 28:13; 1 Peter 5:5-7
> Provided by HIM!Grace! His substitutionary, atoning death
See Colossians 2:13, 14; 1 John 2:1, 2, 12; Romans 5:1-11; 8:1; 28-32
The Hard Work of Forgiveness:“as we also have forgiven our debtors”
> Assumes true repentance on our part for our sins, including unforgiveness
> Destroys self-righteousness as we honestly assess our sins toward God
How dare I ask a holy God for forgiveness if I will not extend it to others?
If you dare, read Matthew 6:14, 15 and 18:21-35; Ephesians 4:30-5:2
> Forces you to Face, not Forget, the Offense.No minimizing it; it hurt!
> Releases the Offender:letting them go, out of your indebtedness
“forgive from the heart” (see Matthew 18:15-35)–Gulp!
Not about feelings, but genuinely, fully; doing maintenance
**Find parallels of people’s sins toward you, and yours toward God
Which is more serious, offensive? Who is the truest victim?
Read Matthew 18:21-35
**What do you need to confess to God?
Read Psalm 51 and 32; Matthew 28:13
**Whom do you need to forgive?Write out Ephesians 4:26, 31–5:2
Like Peter, we ask:“Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him [and US], “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”(Matthew 18:21, 22)