Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. -KJV
-“Forgive Us Our Debts, as We Forgive Our Debtors”
Or “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”
“Forgive us our Sins for we also forgive everyone who sins against us”
“And forgive us the debts of us as and we forgive the debtors of us”
What are you in your church: a debtor, a trespasser, or a sinner?
Have you ever visited different churches and when they started praying the Lord’s Prayer you follow along loudly until you got to the ‘Forgive us’ part, then you kind of hold back and listen for what it’s going to be: debts, trespasses, or sins?
Here’s a good question. Why are debts associated with sins in this prayer? The Greek word here means—‘debts.’ We think of debts as something we owe on our credit cards, car payments, and mortgages.
In the Jewish religion there is the concept that when you sin against God’s law you owe him a debt and the same thing when you sin against someone else. To make amends you have to do a mitzvo- a good work to balance it out.
At the end of the Biblical year during the high holy week Jewish folks try to balance their tabs with good works—mitzvot .
There are 613 Mitzvot in the Torah (Bible)—Mitzvot means commandments– commandments commanded by God to be performed as a religious duty.
365 negative ones—the ‘do nots’
The idea is to keep tabs on all the ‘do not’s you committed over the year and balance them out with ‘do’s—good mitzvot.
–like giving to the poor.
Fortunately as Christians we have a different view of sin and forgiveness. Jesus paid all our debts on the cross.
I love the song:
Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
So what do we do with this part of the prayer—how do we ‘live’ it?
It is a matter of intention- We are called to live lives of forgiveness—and continue to deal with sin in our lives. Remember Jesus said-
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments”-ESV
Walking in the Light
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. -ESV
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. -ESV
Christ Our Advocate
2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. -ESV
What do we do with these passages- How do we live it? It is a matter of intention.
First of all we ask the Holy Spirit what there is in our lives that we need to repent of—what do we need forgiveness for and what do we need to change.
Guess what—he will tell you.
The stuff I’m dealing with now is far different than it use to be. It’s mostly now what I don’t do.
Don’t let the devil dig up ancient history—stuff you have already been forgiven for–during this time of contemplation—just declare—I don’t receive that– I have already been forgiven of that long time ago- and now declare-
“I even forgive myself for it.”
You see; even though the Lord has forgiven us some times we haven’t fully or completely forgiven ourselves and this leaves the door open for the enemy to mess with us–don’t accept it—shut the door.
As We Forgive Our Debtors
Also ask the Holy Spirit who you need to forgive. He’ll tell you.
Sometimes I am surprised who he brings up—since I didn’t think it was a big deal.
But just declare your forgiveness of those whether you feel like it or not.
Especially if you don’t feel forgiving—declare it anyway—it will break to power of it and it won’t be hanging over you anymore. Then soon you will be able to declare it with real conviction.
Unforgiveness gives our enemy the Devil permission to fool with us. It really is important to forgive everyone we can think of who has ever done anything against us.
Sometimes we hold on to stuff people have done against us and never take the time to forgive. Parents and siblings have done all sorts of things over the years that we would like to forget about, but for our own spiritual health we need to remember and forgive.
Sometimes unforgiveness that we hold on too blocks us from receiving healing and from getting closer to the Lord. Unforgiveness can result in bitterness and anger. If we have either it is time to ask the Lord why. Chances are really good that we need to forgive someone.
He tells us to forgive and we need to constantly clear the deck of unforgiveness in our lives.
Now if you are married –the one that can get to you the most will probably be your wife or husband. We need to be aware of the constant need of forgiving them. Otherwise we will become bitter and fits of anger will prove that we haven’t really followed the Lord’s commandment to forgive.
Remember the context of this prayer is the Sermon on the Mount and Jesus taught:
23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. –ESV
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, -ESV
14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.-ESV
“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.-ESV
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
Point is –like 1John 2:6 says- we are supposed to walk and live our lives like Jesus did:
6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. -ESV
When you repent and forgive others you shut the door on the Devil—it makes it harder for him to come against you.
Asking for forgiveness, changing our lives, and forgiving others needs to be part of our daily lives if we want real victory and we want to be closer to the Lord.