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. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. – Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
The next section of the Lord's Prayer is all about fellowship. Fellowship with God and fellowship with others. The only way for true and authentic fellowship to occur with God is when I accept his forgiveness and repent of the sin in my life. When I do this, I accept God's offer to restore fellowship between the two of us.
I believe this is why Jesus made forgiveness a key part of his example on how to pray. In his example we see the purpose of prayer - to build and maintain fellowship and relationship with God.
Once I have repented of my sin and accepted God's forgiveness in my life, I am able to forgive those that have sinned against me. It would be a "great evil" if I were to fully comprehend the magnitude of the debt that I owe God, but then refuse to forgive someone indebted to me. Jesus took this sort of sinful thinking seriously and warned against it in the parable of the Unmerciful Servant as well as below:
For if you forgive other people 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. - Matthew 6:14-15.
There is nothing anyone can ever do to me that would be greater than the debt I owe to God for my sin. But yet, this is sometimes the posture I take when I hold a grudge against someone - when I remember their wrongdoing and replay the sin in my head - when I passive aggressively make a comment that is meant to make them feel guilt or shame.
These words that Jesus spoke reveal the need for me to fully submit to the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of the Father. In this submission, I am empowered by the Spirit to turn my anger and frustration against those in debt to me into forgiveness. Making the way for fellowship and relationship to be restored. I don't need to worry about the how, but rather have faith that God's forgiveness and mercy will show me the way and open my heart to restoration and fellowship.
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. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Amen.
- Is there a sin in your life that you need to confess to the Father so that you can receive his forgiveness and restoration?
- Is there someone in your life that you need to offer forgiveness to?
- How has the Father helped you move past a sinful way of living and restored you to life in the Spirit?
Make it a great day!