And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Matthew 6:12 (NIV)
Forgiveness is rarely easy, whether we’re on the giving or receiving end. On the receiving side, we have to agree that we’ve done something wrong. Sure, the other person may forgive us even if we don’t admit our sins. But, we won’t experience the freedom of being forgiven if we don’t think we’ve done anything wrong. Asking for forgiveness means swallowing our pride; and that’s not easy to do.
On the giving side, forgiveness is difficult because forgiving someone costs us something. Financially, forgiving a debt means that we no longer demand repayment; and that means we’re bearing the financial cost of that unpaid debt. Relationally, forgiving involves bearing the pain of the offense without requiring anything from the person who has offended us; and that’s not always easy to do.
Jesus tells us that we need to come to our Heavenly Father and ask Him to forgive the debts we owe Him. We’ve sinned against God, and we need His forgiveness. He’s eager to forgive us, so much so that He sent His Son to die in our place. So, we don’t need to be afraid that He’ll reject us or turn us away. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
But we can’t stop there. In Matthew 6:12 Jesus goes on to talk about us forgiving those who have hurt us. If we really understand the forgiveness that God offers us, we won’t withhold forgiveness from those who have hurt us. But, if we refuse to forgive others, how can we approach God and ask Him to forgive us?
If you find yourself having a hard time forgiving someone else, take some time to meditate on the forgiveness that God has offered you. Others’ offenses against us pale in comparison with our offenses against God. Ask God to give you a greater appreciation for the depth of His love and forgiveness toward you, and ask Him to grant you a spirit of forgiveness toward others.
We have an awesome God who is willing to forgive our sins, no matter how large or frequent. The more we appreciate how much He has forgiven us, the more we’ll be able to forgive others.