Alright, now about that “and forgive us our sins/debts as we forgive those who’ve sinned against us (our debtors).” We can’t appreciate the depth of God’s forgiveness given to us until we are willing to experience what it’s like to forgive. Even if it’s forgiving repeatedly. Even if we were unjustly treated. Even if what was done was deliberate.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors (Matt 6:12)
Have you ever had to forgive someone but really didn’t want to? What happened when you didn’t? When you did? One of the lessons we have to learn repeatedly in our life is the art of forgiveness. As God’s children, we all need to learn how to forgive.
Why is forgiveness so important?
Quick! Rattle off the Lord’s prayer right now—GO!
The only person we hurt by not forgiving is ourselves. Forgiveness protects our heart from bitterness. Some have said that not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die. Forgiveness is a choice. Forgiveness is an act of the will. It is saying, “I am not going to hold this against them, but instead I’m going to trust God to deal with the situation in His time and His way. I’m choosing to show grace.”
How do I show forgiveness in injustice? Injustice will happen. You’ll be accused of something you didn’t do. A confidence will be broken. Betrayal of trust at any level may occur. Peter writes about this using Jesus as an example saying, “When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted himself to Him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)
You may hurt. You may grieve. There may be consequences to your offender’s actions (i.e. a rebuilding of trust, or possibly the loss of a relationship). But the choice to forgive is about your heart before God.
Forgiveness is often not a once and done event. The indignant feelings of being done wrong can come up at any moment. Each time, you have to make the conscious choice to say, “I have chosen forgiveness. I will not hold this against them. I am trusting God who judges justly.”
Often the question arises of whether or not to tell someone that you forgiven them. It depends – Will telling them reveal to them a hurt that they unknowingly caused you? If so, it’s better to discuss with them what took place and why it hurt so that there is better understanding. In that context you will have to discern if you need to verbalize your forgiveness. Are you telling them you forgive them to induce guilt in them—as a form of payback? Then it’s better to remain silent. Vengeance belongs to God and God ONLY! If they have expressed repentance on their own initiative to you…then offer forgiveness immediately and be willing to talk about what broke down between you and how to guard against it.
It’s up to you, and our challenge is to make the choice to forgive in the little or big things as you build your relationships. May God help you to have a forgiving heart!
Our Father is the rescuer and deliverer of our souls. Through His Son, He stooped down in order to lift us up. We were dead in our sins and trespasses. We were held captive in the snare of the devil to do his will, but Jesus came to overthrow this bondage and to liberate us, to call us His beloved. God has granted us the glorious gift of acceptance and welcome in Christ. Through the powerful work of the Savior, We are rescued from the domain of darkness and transferred into His kingdom, without fault, without blemish. And He will not hear an accusation against us again. Just as He has accepted and forgiven us, may we also accept and forgive those who have sinned against us. Rather than despising those who have done us wrong, may we reach out to them with His healing love and mercy. In the name of Jesus… Amen!