I have said and read the “Our Father” “The Lords” prayer many 100’s of times in my lifetime. I somehow missed really understanding what I was reading and saying. I guess that is one of the dangers when we do things over and over without a lot of thought.
Matthew 6:9-13 (New Living Translation) Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be honored. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven. Give us our food for today, and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV) “This, then, is how you should pray: “‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”
The words that have caught my attention and caused some alarm in my spirit are “and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us”. Reading these words and speaking these words is saying to God “I want you to forgive me based on the way I have forgiven people who have sinned against me”. The question we all have to answer is this “do we really want God to forgive us the same way”? Why is this a problem? I bet we all have someone who has sinned against us that we a have punished or still punish, sought revenge against, refused to forgive, hold bitterness and resentment against. So is this how we want God to forgive us? Is this the “as we have forgiven those” we want God to use on us?
I believe the clear message here is we all need to inspect our heart and do a personal inventory. If there is someone we have not forgiven we need to seek the Lords help to show us how to forgive. A real simple truth is forgiving people sets us right with God. Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT) “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Matthew 6:14-15 (NIV) For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
I like the NLT version because as Christians we know God has told us to forgive and has given us the power to forgive. Our entire faith is 100% based on us being reconciled with God based on the Crucifixion of Christ. I cannot count the number of people who have said “I will never forgive ….. for what they did”. The other issue we face is we have unforgiveness toward someone simply because we refused to do what it took to forgive them hoping time would make this right and it hasn’t. When I think about this statement it really is a refusal to do what God has commanded. God clearly states the consequence for our hard heart.
In simple words God is saying “You cannot just receive forgiveness. You must do what I did and give it away to others”.
More than anything else we do we need to make sure we are right with God, which after all, is the reason we became Christians in the first place.