Summary: A discussion about "as we also have forgiven our debtors" in the Lord's Prayer

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We are continuing in our series entitled: Soul Matters: Shaping life around the Lord’s Prayer.

As we’ve gone line by line through this prayer… we begin to grasp that Jesus reveals the power of

prayer is not about getting God to serve our will….but about how we connect our lives into the

proper orbit around the love and will of God.

The created world and all life was created to exist in relationship to the source and center….just as

life on earth is dependent upon the Sun which is the center around which earth orbits.

Prayer is what maintains that orbit. As we’ve reflected on the first phrases so far…

Matthew 6:9-13

"'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.

Each phrase in this prayer reflects something vital in aligning our souls.

Last week we were confronted with the call to pray: “Forgive us our debts…”

Today we come to the words that are connected…

Forgive us our debts,

as we also have forgiven our debtors.

It is a call to forgive others…but it is more than that.

It is a call to come as sinners who seek to be forgiven… and therefore AS THOSE WHO

FORGIVE OTHERS. Forgive us AS we have been forgiving.

Seeking God’s forgiveness… depends upon our forgiving others in the same way. [1]

Could he really mean that? Does receiving God’s forgiveness really require that we also


Well…Jesus seems to hear that question. So right after he finishes giving this model of prayer…

in verses 14-15 he makes this one point explicit. The only part that he singles out for additional

commentary is this petition.

Matthew 6:14-15 (TNIV)

For if you forgive others 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.

Some of you may not feel the intensity of that statement….. you may not feel a lot of hurt from

others… or you may have a generally gracious demeanor. For some of us …. We may reel back

a bit. We may feel Jesus is drawing a line that doesn’t seem right.

After all… our anger often has seemed appropriate. It might help us to understand what forgiveness does not imply. Forgiveness is about cancelling

a debt that lies between us. We’ll talk more about that, but let me note now what forgiveness is

not. [2]

Forgiveness is not…

• Approving – we fear that if we forgive someone we are expressing some form of accepting

what they did…and we need to have them “get it.” But forgiving is very clear about what it


• Ignoring the offense – You don’t have to pretend nothing happened when you forgive. The

reality is an offense was made. Acting like it never occurred only builds resentment and anger.

• Forgetting – When you forgive someone, your memory isn’t suddenly wiped clean of the


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