. . . they shall mount up with wings as eagles . . . Isaiah 40:31

Forgive Us Our Debts

Matthew 6:9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread.
Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

A Short and Concise Prayer

This is certainly a prayer that is to the point. It is not encumbered by many words or, that is, by excessive speaking. Notice the prayer points.

1. God to be exalted: Father, let Your name be set apart from all that is ordinary. May Your kingdom come, may Your will be done in the earth, as in heaven.
2. Provision: Give us the food we need for today.
3. Forgiveness: And forgive us our debts, our trespasses, our sins against You and against others, as we also forgive those who have trespassed against us.
4. Deliverance from evil: Let us not be led into trial and temptation but save us from all that is evil.
5. Recognition of God’s majestic power: For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are Yours forever.

If You Forgive Men Their Trespasses

The Lord adds some commentary about the prayer that He just outlined. He goes on to say something more about it in Matthew 6:14-15.

Matthew 6:14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

And that’s the only part of the prayer that Jesus evidently saw a need to add comments about, the only part He apparently felt He needed to emphasize and expound upon, the only part that needed further explanation.

He said, for, or because, if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

A Hindrance to Prayer

If we study the subject of prayer in the New Testament, we will find that this is one of the few hindrances to prayer that is mentioned. In fact, Jesus makes mention of it on several occasions.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

That sounds simple enough. The subject here is prayer. Whatever things you desire, when you pray, believe you receive them, and you shall have them. But then He adds something else.

Mark 11:25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

He’s still talking about prayer. When you stand praying, while you are in the midst of your prayer, forgive, if you have anything against anybody, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

Why would that be important? We can only infer that the effectiveness of our prayers is directly proportional to the level of our condition of being forgiven.

Neither will your Father forgive you

Mark 11:26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.

That’s exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 6:15.

Matthew 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

But, brother, Jesus died for my sins. He paid the price for my sins. I believe that. God would not withhold His forgiveness from me.

It seems that Jesus teaches otherwise. He says, but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Forgive Us Our Debts

People have a hard time forgiving people. You’ll hear them say, I don’t know if I can forgive them for that. You don’t know what they did to me. They owe me an apology. They owe me this or that to make it right.

They owe me something. I can’t just let that go. They are indebted to me for the wrong they did. That’s why Jesus said in the prayer model He gave, and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. He used the word debts and the word debtors.

Forgive us our debts? You mean I may have some debts? You mean I may owe somebody? You mean to say I may have done somebody wrong to someone at some point? Yes, and asking for forgiveness is part of the daily prayer Jesus gave us.

The truth is that sometimes it’s as hard to admit that we have done someone wrong as it is to forgive someone for doing us wrong. We think, I haven’t done anybody wrong, and if I did, it’s only because they deserved it. They shouldn’t have done what they did. I’m not in the wrong. Unfortunately, we are in the wrong, and we need to humble ourselves and ask God to forgive us.

Holding Grudges

Often, it’s difficult to stop someone from holding a grudge against us, even if we ask them to forgive us. Whether people forgive us or not is not under our control, but theirs.

Yet we can always control whether we forgive those who have done us wrong. That is always in our power. It is 100% within our control.

And, in addition to that, we can also control whether or not we recognize our own wrongdoing and ask forgiveness for it.

Pride and Humility

When we analyze it, both of these things are rooted in pride. We can be too proud to recognize that we may have done somebody wrong and ask God to forgive us for it, and we can be too proud to forgive someone for doing us wrong.

The Bible tells us that God resists the proud, but He gives grace to the humble. If we’re going to walk in a close relationship with God, we are going to learn how to humble ourselves and ask forgiveness for our own wrongs, and we are going to learn how to humble ourselves and completely forgive anyone who has done us wrong.

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Father, forgive me of my wrongs, in the very same way that I forgive the wrongs of others. Amen.

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