“Forgive us our debts, as also we have forgiven our debtors”
In our model prayer, after we have asked God for provision, we ask for pardon. “Forgive” follows “Give.” These two requests for daily bread and forgiveness are linked together by the simple conjunction “and.” In so doing, the need for food is placed on the same level with forgiveness.
Praying for forgiveness of wrong doing – sin is paramount to an admission of guilt. Many falsely assume that being saved means – no more sin and no more need of forgiveness. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In the Apostle John’s writing to believers he says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)
Not only are we told to ask forgiveness for sins we have committed as believers, but we are to forgive those who have committed wrongs against us.
Corrie Ten Bloom relates her experience on forgiveness in her book, “The Hiding Place.”
When she met one of her jailers all the memories and vengeful thoughts ran through her mind. As he extended his hand, she found herself unable to lift her arm. She tried to smile. She felt no warmth for him. NO charity. She silently prayed, “Jesus I can’t forgive him. Give me your forgiveness.” As she finally took his hand an incredible thing happened. A warm love for the man sprang from her shoulder and traveled down through her arm to her hand that almost overwhelmed her. She realized that when Jesus tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself.
William Barclay paraphrases the petition to read: “Forgive us our sins in proportion as we forgive those who have sinned against us.”
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to forgive others to the same extent that you have forgiven me.