Yesterday we highlighted the importance of asking for forgiveness in prayer. But when Jesus said to prayer, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”, He made our receiving forgiveness so much more conditional.
The use of the word “AS” turns our prayer for forgiveness to mean, “The extent or the degree to which I forgive others, please forgive me”. Our Lord certainly wanted us to grasp this understanding. He did not leave it to our own reasoning, interpretation or theological frame of reference. He clearly explained what he meant.
Quite interestingly, it is the only portion of the prayer Jesus chose to expand on: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-16).
Jesus later illustrated this forgiveness key in Matthew 18:21-35 with the Parable of the Unforgiving Debtor. In this parable Jesus underscored the eternal consequences for refusing to extend mercy to others, while forgiveness was granted by God.
Let us truly release those who have wronged us. Despite the pain and the hurt you may feel inside, allow the grace of God to enable you to be merciful unto them. Blessed are the merciful, for you shall receive mercy (Matt. 5:7).