Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. (vs 12)
Debts, here, is rightly translated as “sins”. Yet “debts” is the right word. Jesus was talking to Jewish people and before Jesus was the Sacrifice there was a debt owed to God for these sins. The payment owed was punishment. Every Jew knew this which is why they were so careful to observe the Temple sacrifices.
While the Jews sacrificed daily and annually in the Temple so as to be forgiven, we know now that there is no way that we can ever make up for our sins; or our Sin. When we pray “Father forgive us our sins” we are asking that the Blood of Jesus be applied toward the debt that we owe. Jesus made the payment, once and for all, for everyone’s Sin and all we have to do is ask and God is faithful to forgive us. (1John 1:9)
Jesus also said that we are to forgive our debtors. Again, this is talking about sins. In this case about people who have done us wrong. It’s easy for me to ask God to forgive me. I know that I am a sinner. The apostle Paul claimed that he was the “chief of sinners” in 1Timothy 1:15. I’m not trying to contradict Scripture, but often I feel that I hold that place myself. I know that I have an accumulation of debts that would be owed if not for His forgiveness. It is also easy for me to want to exact justice from anyone who wrongs me or my family. And this is wrong. It is yet another debt that I must ask to be forgiven. Because we are to let these things go and let God deal with them.
The Bible has thirty-three Vengeance is mine, says the Lord that specifically tell us that it God’s job to repay people, not ours. I have linked to openbible.info where you can look up these verses if you choose. We are to turn the other cheek rather than insisting on punishment. The prayer that we are studying also says that we are to ask that God forgive us as we forgive others! This implies that if we don’t forgive than He won’t forgive. I tried looking this up and scholars disagree on this. Having said that I still want to do what Jesus asks us to do. We know that He wants us to forgive, so I try. And yes, it’s hard. So let me suggest that you also pray for the grace (strength) to forgive.
© 2021 Tim Lehmann. All rights reserved.
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