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”And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.” Luke 11:4
This portion of Scripture, as part of the Lord’s Prayer, is very familiar to us. We ask God to take away our sins, but how often do we pay close attention to the last part of the sentence. Sometimes we think that God is obligated to offer His forgiveness without conditions.
We have an idea that all we have to do is say, ”Forgive me,” and all our wrong-doing disappears. Forgiveness always comes at a price. Look at how God forgives. When Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, God did not just say, “That’s OK. I’ll forgive you.” In order for Adam and the rest of humanity to be forgiven, Jesus had to die.
The price of our sin has been paid by the Blood of Jesus Christ. Words, even sorrow for sin, were not enough. A price had to be paid. We cheapen forgiveness when we ignore or downplay the sin.
What do we have to pay in order to receive the forgiveness of God? Nothing. Jesus already paid the price...the price cannot be paid [or demanded] twice without fraud. However, we are required to submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Everything rolls together in one unit. We cannot chop Christianity up and only take the parts we like. We cannot really ask God to forgive us, if we reject everything else about Him.
How does this effect our willingness to forgive others? Part of being under the Lordship of Jesus Christ is forgiving those who wrong us. Forgiving is not saying what they did was right - if it was there would be no need for forgiveness - but it is refusing to hold their sinful act[s] against them or harbor bitter thoughts about them.
Yes, they have sinned against us, but we also have sinned against others. And all of us have sinned against God. A wise man once said, “He who refuses to forgive burns the bridge over which he himself must travel.” The blood of Christ covers their sins as well as ours.
But what if they are not sorry? We don’t hold it against them. We trust God to work it out. He alone knows every side to the story. He alone will work it out for good in the end.
We pray, "Forgive us as we forgive others." Are we really wiling to do what it takes for God to forgive us?
This is just a little food for thought on a large subject of asking God to forgive us. The above doesn’t mean we don’t seek restitution or justice in applicable cases, but it does mean we don’t do it out of hurt, revenge, or bitterness.