In Matthew 6:9-13 you will find very familiar scripture commonly know as the Lord’s Prayer. I just completed teaching a 10 week study on this prayer at Victory Church. A portion of that prayer deals with forgiveness, and it goes like this, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”
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 you in 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!