Today’s post is day four of our five- part series on the Lord’s Prayer. We’re close, so let’s dig in.
“And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors;” – Matthew 6:12
Ah, forgiveness, an uncomfortable and oft- avoided topic among Christians. Why is that? Probably because it is so clearly stated in the Bible that we must forgive, and so the only way to not go through that discomfort is to avoid the subject altogether. However hard it is to discuss, though, let’s study it just a bit more. The first reason we don’t like forgiving others is simply because of how much they hurt us. We say,” But God, look! Look at how horrible they are and how awful that thing they did to me is! How can you possible expect me to forgive a thing like that? It’s just impossible!”
I know I’ve felt like that before, and to be honest I still do at times. But we have to look back to the cross; and when we see what Jesus did for us on that old, rugged tree we will be reminded of how much He forgave us for. Because we did that to Him. It was our hands hammering those nails in His hands. It was our mouths spitting on His face, and when Judas kissed Him, those where our lips.
We have absolutely no right to deny forgiveness to anyone else, because we have done far, far worse than them. As Paul said, I am the chief of sinners. Immediately after the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus tells us this:
“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive yours.” – Matthew 6:14-15
God says this, not just because not forgiving you is a punishment for denying forgiveness to others, but because your unwillingness to forgive shows that you weren’t really forgiven in the first place. This is because what you’re saying is, “Jesus, you’re wrong. They’re not worth forgiving, but I am.” Because Jesus says that because you’ve been forgiving, you forgive. I like how C.S. Lewis puts it when he says,” To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” We forgive because he forgave.
Maybe, though, you don’t forgive because you don’t think you are really forgiven. Maybe you don’t think you deserve it. But that’s just what grace is for! No one deserves grace, but God gives it to us anyways. The greatest point we can come to is to realize that we really are bad. We really are messed up, but that’s the point at which we realize how much we need a savior.
So often we try to earn our way to Heaven. We think that if we are just good enough we can get into Heaven. But we can’t. That’s the greatest spot to be in, though, because then we can stop wallowing in grief and beating ourselves up when we inevitably fail, because no one is good enough to get into heaven. That means that in spite of all the awful things we have done, God still loves us, and wants us to be with Him. No matter how hard we try, we can never outrun God’s grace, so stop trying. You’re forgiven!