Summary: Christ gave this perfect patter for prayers we are to offer to the Father. We are to do our part to study it closely and follow it correctly.
Forgive Us Our Debts
Christ gave this perfect pattern for the prayers we are to offer to the Father. We are to do our part to study it closely and follow it correctly.
There is a very significant conjunction in this perfect pattern of prayer. The word “and” links the petition for daily bread to the confession of sin and the plea for pardon. “Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” The suggestion is that just as we need to go to him for daily bread for daily needs, even so we should go to him for daily forgiveness for daily sin. As the physical body is nourished by food and needs to be renewed in vitality day by day, even so the spiritual nature needs to be made clean and white by confession and cleansing every day.
I. This plea for pardon acknowledges sinfulness.
a. This is one petition that our Savior never needed to offer for himself.
b. He alone has lived a life without sin.
c. Not only have all of us sinned in the past but we are also sinners in the present.
d. In spirit of the fact that some deny, ignore, excuse, or seek to conceal sin, its reality continues to be painfully present.
e. Sin sears the conscience and brings about a breach of fellowship between the child and the Father.
f. Only when sin is confessed and forsaken can the fellowship be restored and enjoyed.
II. This plea would encourage us to deal drastically with our debts.
a. Each of us needs to recognize the nature of sin and reflect on the consequences of our rebellion and our disobedience.
i. We need to face up to our unmet obligations toward God, toward others, and toward self.
ii. We need to pray, “Father, let me know the measure of my debt and guilt,” because sin in the heart is a malignant force that affects the lives of those about us.
b. The spirit of this petition calls for an attitude of grief over past failures that will lead to positive and constructive action in both the present and the future.
III. This plea for pardon includes others.
a. We need not only confess our individual sins, but also lift the debts of others before God for forgiveness.
i. Moses, Nehemiah, Isaiah, and our Lord prayer that the sins of others might be forgiven.
b. We are sinners collectively as well as individually.
i. Our nation today is in great social turmoil because of the collective greed and selfishness of our forefathers.
ii. We are part of a society that permits and tolerates that for which we would not want to assume individual responsibility.
IV. This plea reveals the divine strategy for heavenly happiness on earth.
a. If we would experience the forgiveness of God, we must forgive those who have sinned against us.
i. God wants to deal with each of us on the basis of forgiveness.
ii. To forgive is more than to ignore or to forget an offense.
iii. To forgive means to “hold it against him no longer” and to restore a broken relationship with warm feelings.
iv. To forgive is to remember and yet at the same time not to carry a grudge.
b. Divine forgiveness is possible for all who will repent, confess, and forsake their evil ways.
c. Human forgiveness is essential is we would purge our hearts of the malice, hatred, and desire for revenge that poison our joy.
i. To have an unforgiving spirit blocks that channel by which we experience the peace and happiness of divine forgiveness.
d. When Jesus counseled the disciples that they must be willing to forgive until seven times (Matt. 18:21-22).
i. He was pointing out the absolute necessity of the offended party eliminating from his or her own heart the poison and hatred that corrode and destroy the human spirit.
Our Lord knew that each day his disciples had need of forgiveness. He also knew that everyday they would need to forgive others. Consequently, he linked together in an inseparable way the plea for pardon with the promise to forgive. God has forgiven us. It is possible by his help for us to forgive both ourselves and those who sin against us. After we forgive, we will begin to experience some of the joys of heaven on earth.