“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
You deserve to be angry. It wasn’t fair, and it certainly wasn’t right. God would see it your way. He’d agree. It shouldn’t have happened to you. No, there’s no way you can let this one go.
I imagine those thoughts are familiar to you. I’ve had them. I’m sure you have too. Hurts, betrayals, and unfair treatment send us reeling. At our core, we want someone to pay. We need someone to pay . . . or at the very least, be sorry.
We often wear our need for others to repent and make things right like chains. We carry our resentment with us. It hangs on us, clinging to us like a net, and everything we do and say must get filtered through its tangled layers. Even the prayers we lift to the Father.
We’ve spent the last few weeks considering prayer together, exploring its purpose and looking at how we can pray with a power that opens the heavens. Today, we take a peek at a destructive force that hinders them.
As Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He included Matthew 6:12 in His model:
“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
If you’re like me, perhaps the verse is so familiar to you that you may have missed its significance. Have you ever really thought about what Jesus is saying with those words? His plea for God’s forgiveness is attached to a clause, “as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Jesus asked God to forgive us in the same way that we have forgiven others who have hurt us.
Think about that for a minute. If we seek God’s forgiveness in the same way that we forgive others, what will happen when we refuse to forgive and harbor bitterness and resentment in our hearts? I’ll let Jesus answer that for you.
"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."
Dear one, there isn’t anything we need in this life more than God’s forgiveness. Forgiveness secures our release from sin and opens our access to have intimate relationship with our heavenly Father. We receive God’s forgiveness the moment we repent of our sin and put our faith in His Son, Jesus. Praise His Name, Jesus took all of our sin upon Himself so we could be free!
And yet, we still sin. Here’s the good news: we can never sin our way out of our salvation. But sin that we carry with us and refuse to repent of will hinder our relationship with God, removing us from His favor and blessing. In fact, harboring sin in our hearts causes God’s ear to close to the prayers we lift in our need.
“Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2
Verse one assures us that God is mighty and able to rescue us! He is also able to hear us when we cry out to Him in our need. Our sins, however, separate us from the intimacy we should enjoy with God and turn His ear away from us. If we want God to hear and answer our prayers, we need an open channel. Sincerely confessing our sin ushers in God’s forgiveness. With forgiveness comes His power. Consider 1 John 1:9.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.for”
Praise Jesus, God is faithful to forgive! The question before us is this: Are we?
When we refuse to forgive, we sin against God. We tell Him we don’t trust Him as the Righteous Judge and we’ve decided we should handle it. Our stubborn refusal to release the wrongs done to us pushes God away and invites the enemy of our souls to wreak a little havoc. Not only will harboring bitterness keep God at a distance, but it will keep you bound in your own chains. You will be forgiven as you also forgive.
Has resentment left its chains on you? Ask God to work forgiveness in your heart. It doesn’t let anyone else off the hook. Just you. And as you forgive, you allow God’s forgiveness to penetrate your own soul, releasing you of burdens you weren’t designed to carry. That freedom will leave the channel between you and God open, creating an unobstructed doorway for your prayers to not only rise to His throne, but for His answers to come down.
Forgive, dear one, and be free to receive.