Few things are more precious to receive than forgiveness. After carrying the burden of our sin, it is wonderfully freeing to know that the one we have wronged has completely forgiven us.
And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
Jesus told His disciples to ask God for forgiveness every time they prayed. Jesus knew that we would daily incur debts against God, as we inevitably fall short of God’s standard. A day does not go by that we do not need to ask God to remove our debt against Him.
Jesus warned that we should expect forgiveness from God as we forgive those who sin against us, for God will forgive us in the same way we forgive others (Matt. 6:15). God’s nature is forgiveness (Exod. 34:6–7). If we are to be His disciples, we must follow His example. If God will forgive our most relentless enemy, we can do nothing less. Jesus did not say that certain offenses are unworthy of our forgiveness. We have no biblical excuse for allowing unforgiveness in our hearts.
If you choose to withhold forgiveness from someone, your worship and prayers are futile (Matt. 5:23–24). Ask God to make you award of those dark corners in your life where you are harboring resentment. A keen awareness of your own need for forgiveness will put the offenses of others in their proper light. Ask God to make you like Christ so that, even when you are being persecuted, you can pray “Father, forgive them.”
Excerpts republished with permission from Experiencing God Day by Day by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby c. 1997 B&H Publishing Group.
Featured image Jim Caviezel as Jesus in The Passion of the Christ; Courtesy of Icon Productions