My grandson lied to his mom one day (as little children do) and yes, she corrected him and he suffered consequences for his lying. However, she wanted him to learn from his mistake….not keep paying for it. In a sense, she forgave him. At least until he does it again. Then it is a seperate sin that is dealt with then. The key for him is to learn not to lie, it is not to be so reminded of his error as to not be able to get beyond it. I know that this is a pretty simple example, but hopefully you get the idea.
Luke 6:37-38 (TNIV, This is Jesus speaking)
37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Jesus Himself died as the last blood sacrifice, that our sins might be forgiven. I find hope in that. As we forgive those who have wronged us….we are forgiven. The meaning of this thought then, focuses on the true repentance before God of someone who understands the greatness of the forgiveness they have received.
It’s interesting that the Greek word translated as “debts” is “opheilema” [of-i-lay-mah]. This word means “that which is owed” and is a metaphor for “sin”. As hard as we may try, we are unable to live a sin free life. However….hope is not lost in this…it is gained.
It is also interesting that the next two verses (Matthew 6:14-15) after the Lord’s Prayer hit squarely on this thought. We are to willingly extend such forgiveness to others for their wrongs. The flip side of this thought reveals the selfishness of someone who seeks God’s forgiveness yet willfully refuses to forgive others.
Matthew 6: 14-15 (TNIV, This is Jesus speaking)
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.
Matthew 6:9-13 (TNIV, This is Jesus speaking: The Lord’s Prayer)
9 This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
May you see the reality of hope that is found in the blood of Jesus. May you not only seek forgiveness, but may you extend forgiveness to those around you and find the healing power of Jesus in doing so.