Forgive & Forgiving – By Matt Miller

[Mat 6:9-13 NKJV] 9 “In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as [it is] in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

We might recognize the scripture here as “The Lord’s Prayer”. You might have recited it daily at school growing up. It is and was taught by the Lord as a model for how we should pray. How to address God
and petition Him. I want to call our attention though to verse 12 here. “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” This phrase petitions for forgiveness, but links our forgiveness by God to
our own forgiveness of others. Does the link between the two stick in our head? Do we remember that we have to forgive? In fact, forgiving others is fundamental to our love. We do it all the time within our families, within our homes. It is so natural in that context that we don’t even think about it most of the time. In that context, it seems easy doesn’t it?

Yet in other contexts, we find it quite difficult. It strikes me that this is the very point maybe of what Jesus was conveying as he was teaching prayer here. For in the very next verse, Matthew records for us that Jesus calls this point out.

[Mat 6:14 NKJV] 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
We see that Jesus describes as one of the conditions of our forgiveness we must forgive others. As Jesus disciples pressed for just how forgiving they must be, Jesus explained it by way of parable.

[Mat 18:21-35 NKJV] 21 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. 23 “Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 “And when he had begun to settle accounts, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents. 25 “But as he was not able to pay, his master commanded that he be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and that payment be made. 26 “The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 27 “Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. 28 “But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and he laid hands on him and took [him] by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’ 29 “So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ 30 “And he would
not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt. 31 “So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done.
32 “Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 ‘Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’ 34 “And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.” When conveyed as debt, do we better understand sin and our forgiveness? Our sin is a debt that we cannot repay. There is no way to take it back, make recompense that fixes it or can remove the spot. Forgiveness then is the only answer. This is true for us in relation to God, and it is true between us as we have troubles caused by our imperfections, faults, and outright damages done to one another as men and women. Paul describes those in Christ as being part of the household of faith (Gal 6:10) and compels us to do good toward each other. The
beginning of doing good to one anther maybe is to have the kind of forgiveness that Jesus described as being required. Paul told the Ephesians and Colossians that forgiveness was something to be offered as we have ourselves been forgiven by Christ.

[Eph 4:32 NKJV] 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

[Col 3:13 NKJV] 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also [must do].

So forgiveness is a condition for us to meet. God by way of the gospel provided the conditions by which we could be forgiven. Paul describes it in part, [Rom 5:6-8 NKJV] 6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

In order to find forgiveness, it starts with being in Christ, but then it also is required of us to forgive. When we forgive, we release. We no longer hold to account the wrongs of others. This is what Jesus
was teaching the Apostles, and this is what Paul was telling these early Christians. This is what we must also apply to all of our relationships today. It is a condition for our own forgiveness.

Forgiveness is grace, and mercy. Forgiveness liberates. Forgiveness is love. Forgiveness heals. When we think about all the ugliness of our sin, we should be made to be further in awe of our God, who has made for us a path and set of conditions wherein our sins might even be forgiven. So forgive. Forgive and be free of the weight not of your neighbors’ debt, but that of your own debt.