Who do you need to forgive today? Who immediately came to mind with that question? 

Perhaps the need for our own forgiveness is key to forgiving the people who hurt and harm us.

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matthew 6:12).

It’s so easy to miss the little word at the beginning of that verse on how we are to pray. “And.” The conjunction. 

Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:11-12 emphasis mine).

It joins forgiveness to asking.

When we ask, forgiveness from God should be expected as much as, and as easily as, asking for our daily needs to be met. That’s what we learned last week—we are to come to God and ask him for what we need each and every day.

We are to ask God for forgiveness, too.

But forgiveness can be complicated.

On one hand when we ask God to forgive us, we move from death to life, from slavery to freedom. 

The Bible says:

“Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). That: “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Psalm 103:12).

On the other hand, we still need to be forgiven daily. We are not perfect. We still do wrong. Being forgiven is ongoing. Jesus “is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). 

We live in this in between state of being forgiven but still need forgiveness, not fully perfect but perfect enough.

I must admit my asking can outweigh my requests for forgiveness. 

I am not a bad person. I’m guessing you are not a bad person either. Most of us are good, law-abiding people. 

We are also to think well of ourselves. It’s not good to have low self-esteem. Plenty of us do. For various reasons tell ourselves “I’m not good enough,” “I’m a failure,”

So, what should we do? 

The next line gives us a clue: “as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

The instruction to forgive other people is a nudge to remember what God has done and is constantly doing for us. 

Receiving forgiveness from God is not dependent on us forgiving others. That would not be God’s grace. God’s forgiveness is a free gift. 

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).

Our instruction is to forgive, or at least to bring before God those we need to forgive—”pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).

Acknowledging before God our need to forgive others keeps us cognizant of what God has done for us and does for us so easily, although costly, when we ask him for forgiveness.

Forgiving other people can be hard! We avoid it. We struggle with it. We have to work at it. But, practicing forgiveness makes us more grateful and appreciative of what God has done for us.

And we don’t have to practice forgiveness alone. We have a God who can lead us, guide us, and help us. We have a God who fully understands the huge, painful cost of forgiving those who hurt us. Because he has done it himself.

Are you ready to take the journey to forgive the person who came to mind right at the beginning?


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