Thursday, April 28, 2022

The Lord's Prayer: And Forgive Us Our Debts

'And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.'

I’m thankful for the simplicity here. Forgive us our debts. Things are slightly more complex in Leviticus, and yet I might prefer that to a detailed report on my sins. Not that Scripture doesn’t tell us to confess our sins. In this prayer, however, Jesus says only ‘forgive us our debts.’

After giving his disciples the prayer, he connects forgiveness of our sins, not to how we manage them after the fact, but to how we forgive others.

When I say, ‘as we also have forgiven our debtors,’ certain people often come to mind. I used to wonder how I was supposed to forgive them.

They don’t owe me money. I almost never see them; how can I show them some grace or mercy? After focusing on this prayer for months, it hit me that I did consider them to be in my debt.

They owe me a debt of unpaid respect.

I’ve been foolish to keep that debt on the books, because they are never going to pay it. That, of course, isn’t the point.

Any debt I think I’m owed is nothing next to my indebtedness. When it comes to loving God with all my heart, all my mind, and all my strength, and loving my neighbor as myself, I’m all for throwing out the book. If I want the ledger of my debt thrown out, Jesus says I’m to stop keeping the ledger on what I’m owed. I’m still not sure exactly how to do that.

I’ve got places in my heart that have been hard for a long time. The only thing I know to do is to keep hitting at those hard places with the prayer—to keep saying, day in and day out, ‘Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.’

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