“Forgive our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…” (Matthew 6:12).
Most of us have prayed the Lord’s Prayer hundreds if not thousands of times. Did you notice that our being forgiven by God is conditional upon our forgiving those who have hurt us?
Yeah. Read it for yourself in Matthew 6:9-13
This, then, is how you should pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
As if this conditional clause in the Lord’s Prayer is not clear enough, Jesus reaffirms this truth a few verses later when he says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:14-15).
Yikes! This forgiveness is serious business!!!
What’s the deal with forgiveness? Why is this such an essential part of being a follower of Jesus Christ?
Forgiveness is essential because it’s the only pathway to God’s future. You see, forgiving someone cannot change the past. All the hurts, all the pain, all the residual damage and scarring all remain. But, forgiving someone is not about the past. Forgiving someone cannot change the past but it will change your future. Releasing the hurt, anger, disappointment, and loss is the pathway to freedom and peace. You can’t hang on to the past – which cannot change – while wanting to experience God’s grace and freedom. You have to let it go.
That’s what forgiving means. It means letting go so God can heal you, so God can fill you with his peace.
So make room for God’s grace. Make room for God’s peace. Let it go and let God heal you.