Summary: Eighth in a series on the Lord's Prayer
1 Forgive Us Our Debts, As We Forgive Our Debtors
Lord’s Prayer series Week 8
Let’s continue today with this story about Johnny. Johnny was a young man who was excited to try out his new slingshot. He and his sister were visiting their grandma on her farm for a couple of weeks and there was no better time to work on his sling shot skills.
First, he’d aim at a row of tin cans he put on the fence, but after about 20 minutes, he only hit one. So, he decided to shoot at something else - a bird in the tree, and thankfully, he missed that too. And as time was passing, he was getting more and more frustrated.
It was getting close to dinner time when grandma called them in to clean up before dinner. But on the way in to the house, Johnny decided to try one more time to hit something and this time it was grandma’s favorite duck. The problem was that this time, he hit his mark. The missile hit the duck and killed it instantly and Johnny panicked! He didn’t expect that to happen. So grabbing the duck’s limp body, he ran behind the barn and hid it behind a wood pile, before going into the house.
After dinner, grandma asked his sister, Sally, to wash the dishes, but Sally turned to her brother and whispered, “Remember the duck!” Apparently, she saw what happened and was blackmailing Johnny into washing the dishes for her.
The next morning, the children were doing their chores when Sally handed her brother the broom, pointed to the back porch and whispered in his ear, “Remember the duck.”
All week Sally blackmailed her brother into doing her chores. Every time she wanted him to do something, all she would have to do is whisper, “Remember the duck!”
Finally, Johnny couldn’t take it anymore. The guilt was killing him and so he confessed everything to his grandma. His grandma held him close as he cried and said; “Johnny, I know you killed the duck. I was standing at the kitchen window when you did it and I saw it all. I could see the fear on your face and I forgave you the moment you did it. I was just wondering how long you were going to live with the guilt before you told me…
Maybe we can see a little bit of ourselves in Johnny. We’ve all done something wrong and it seems like evil comes along and whispers in our ear something like, “You are so guilty, God won’t understand, and neither will anyone else. You can’t be forgiven. There’s no way to overcome it.”
But in the model prayer of Jesus, he captures the spirit of grace and pardon with 4 short words, “Forgive us our debts.” Prayer is in many ways a process. It’s a continuum that moves us into the presence of God. And what we’ve seen so far as we’re moving through the model prayer of Jesus is that:
First of all, God is a loving Heavenly Father and His desire is for us to come to Him just as any kid would look to their parents for guidance, love, acceptance, wellbeing, and forgiveness when we mess up.
Second, He is also a compassionate King and he is worthy of our respect and reverence.
And, God wants us to humble ourselves and to live by kingdom principles.
And, (4) God wants us to know that He will provide for our needs, and that it’s important that we want what He wants.
And with that, Jesus moves on with: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”.
You know, when we’ve spent time in God’s presence and have seen him as a loving Father, a benevolent King, a Sovereign Lord and Great Provider, in light of that, we should be ready and willing to take a hard look at our lives – specifically, our shortcomings and sin.
Let’s face it, sin is ugly and can trap us and we can become stuck in doing the same old things in the same old ways. And over time, sin has a way of becoming something familiar and we can become comfortable with it. But what might start out as something alluring or even benign can turn out to be devastating.
2 So when our sin goes unconfessed or worse, excused, there are consequences and we normally experience multiple reactions:
1. We can feel guilty and ashamed.
2. We avoid the topic or people and places that remind us of our sin. And that can very easily drive wedges in between us and build walls around us. Sin can wreck relationships.
3. We can shut God out; even to the point where we sever our fellowship with Him and our fellowship with His people.