When you pray, “…forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…” you recognize your short-comings, your failures, your sins, and your need for forgiveness!
Have you ever felt as if you are being held captive or incarcerated because of an un-confessed sin? Are there others who are constantly reminding you of your failures, your short-comings, and your sin? If so, this portion of the Lord’s Prayer is your key to freedom!
When you pray, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” you recognize five factors of the Christian life:
GOD’S CHILDREN SIN (1 John 1:8-10; 2:1-2)
GOD’S CHILDREN ARE CONCERNED AFTER THEY SIN (Psalm 32:3; 51:3; 73:21; Isaiah 6:5; Mark 14:72; Luke 18:13)
WE MUST DO SOMETHING ABOUT OUR SIN (2 Corinthians 7:10; 1 John 1:9)
GOD WILL FORGIVE US (1 John 1:9; Micah 7:18-19)
WE MUST FORGIVE OTHERS (Matthew 18:21-22)
Okay, let’s get real here! We do not have a problem with the numbers 1-4 of our list. Correct? As a matter of fact, we are very grateful and appreciative of the fact that we have a forgiving Heavenly Father! But, when it comes to us forgiving those who have wronged us, now that’s another story. Right?
I will be the first one to admit that forgiving those who have wronged us, whether intentionally or unintentionally, is not easy! I will even say that there is NO WAY you can do this BY YOURSELF! You will only be able to forgive with the help of the Lord. Therefore, allow me to share with you four steps to forgiving others
Let us begin with this passage of scripture: “All bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave youin Christ” Ephesians 4:31-32 (HCSB).
Step 1: Recognize that no one is perfect.(Eccl. 7:20; Romans 3:23)
Step 2: Relinquish your right to get even.(Romans 12:19)
Step 3: Respond to evil with good.(God’s love doesn’t keep track of wrong – 1 Cor. 13)
Step 4: Refocus on God’s plan for your life and move on.
So don’t sit another day in your resentment. If you’ve been holding onto pain caused by someone else, go through these four steps and move on to the rest of the life you were created to live!
In 1952 Florence Chadwick attempted to swim 26 miles from the coast of California to Catalina Island. After 15 hours, a heavy fog began to block her view, she became disoriented, and she gave up. To her chagrin, Chadwick learned that she had quit just 1 mile short of her destination.
Two months later Chadwick tried a second time to swim to Catalina Island from the coast. Again a thick fog settled in, but this time she reached her destination, becoming the first woman to swim the Catalina Channel. Chadwick said she kept an image of the shoreline in her mind even when she couldn’t see it.
When the problems of life cloud our vision, we have an opportunity to learn to see our goal with the eyes of faith.
The New Testament letter to the Hebrews urges us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (12:1-2). When we feel like quitting, this is our signal to remember not only what Jesus suffered for us but what He now helps us to endure—until the day we see Him face to face.
Sometimes the challenges of life seem insurmountable. Pray and ask your Heavenly Father to help you fix your eyes on Him and trust Him. Be thankful that He is bringing about His good purposes in you. We can finish strong when we focus on Christ.
Using the metaphor of a marathon and a stadium of cheering supporters, the writer of Hebrews encouraged persecuted Christians to persevere and to remain faithful. The constant call of Scripture is: Don’t give up! Keep your eye on the finish line! Finish the race! (1 Cor. 9:24–27; Phil. 3:13–14; 2 Tim. 4:7; Heb. 12:1–2).
DON’T QUIT, NO MATTER WHAT!
Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. – Hebrews 12:1-2
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won if he’d stuck it out.
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are –
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.
Remember that faith, like muscle, must be exercised in order to grow strong. In other words, there must be the occasion, or provocation, of faith. Most of the time my natural inclination is to escape this provocation. But I must put on the right kind of glasses and see provocation, not as a disaster, but as an opportunity for God to work.
Miracles occur when there is a tremendous voltage between need and supply. That is like the positive and negative particles that cause a thunderstorm. If I am to see God work dramatically, I must bring a need face to face with God’s supercharged supply. The need is always there as long as sin and man exist, but the missing element is the intensified power of supply. That is where God needs a conductor, a man of faith, like Moses, Elijah, or the Lord Jesus. Wherever they went they were natural “lightning rods” that drew the power from God.
I also must remember that faith decays from lack of stimulus, Quite often I have “little” faith simply because I have had little opportunity to exercise it. Faith grows by being challenged. If my life is so so and average, I do not need to pray for more faith but for more problems, difficulties, and challenges. That means the courage to dare, to launch out, to expose myself to the pains, hurts, and heartaches of this world.
A person without faith is admitting he has no concern for others, for we cannot long spiritually for others without becoming aware of deep, sore, bleeding wounds. By means of our faith those wounds can be healed, and God is waiting for believers! How I long to be like Abraham, who was “strong in faith, giving glory to God” (Romans 4:20). That is it—to be strong enough so that the result is always glory.
“By faith Moses … refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:24–25).
Joash did what was right in the sight of the Lord all the days of Jehoiada the priest. —2 Chronicles 24:2
Joash must have been confused and frightened when he was told about the evil deeds of his grandmother Athaliah. She had murdered his brothers to usurp the power of the throne in Judah. But baby Joash had been safely hidden away by his aunt and uncle for 6 years (2 Chron. 22:10-12). As he grew, he enjoyed the love and instruction of his caregivers. When Joash was only 7 years old, he was secretly crowned king and his grandmother was overthrown (23:12-15).
Young King Joash had a wise counselor by his side—his very own Uncle Jehoiada (chs. 22–25). Joash was one of the rare “good kings” of Judah, and while his uncle was alive he obeyed the Lord by doing right (24:2). But once his uncle was no longer there to teach and lead by example, Joash fell away and his life ended badly (24:15-25). It seems that the roots of his faith did not run very deep. He even began to worship idols. Perhaps Joash’s “faith” had been more his uncle’s than his own.
Others can teach us the principles of their faith, but each of us must come individually to a lasting and personal faith in Christ. For faith to be real, it must become our own. God will help us walk with Him and become rooted and established in the faith (Col. 2:6-7).
The faith that continues to the end gives proof that it was genuine in the beginning.