Pray Then Like This

Matthew 6:12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matthew 6:14-15 (CSB) “For if you forgive others their offenses, your heavenly Father will forgive you as well. But if you don’t forgive others, your Father will not forgive your offenses.

Forgive Us–Help Us to Forgive

How can we forgive: God forgives and saves us

Hebrews 8:10-12 (CSB) For this is the covenant
that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds
and write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
11 And each person will not teach his fellow citizen,
and each his brother or sister, saying, “Know the Lord,”
because they will all know me,
from the least to the greatest of them.
12 For I will forgive their wrongdoing,
and I will never again remember their sins

How can we forgive: God loves and saves us

1 John 4:7-10 (ESV) Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

How can we forgive: God gives grace upon grace–we get to give grace upon grace

Matthew 18:21-35 (CSB) Then Peter approached him and asked, “Lord, how many times must I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? As many as seven times?”

22 “I tell you, not as many as seven,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven.

Don’t be like me and try to take this literal. When I was first saved by God, all of this anger and bitterness came to the surface. I actually thought this:

“Okay, for everyone who has hurt and betrayed me, let me see, 70 times 7 is 490 times… so, if I forgive them once a day for about a year and a season (because they have the audacity to exist and never say they are sorry), then I can stop forgiving them.”

Oh, I am a simple and wicked little man.

Christ goes on to explain what he means by “seventy times seven”:

Matthew 18:23 “For this reason, the kingdom of heaven can be compared to a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 When he began to settle accounts, one who owed ten thousand talents was brought before him. 25 Since he did not have the money to pay it back, his master commanded that he, his wife, his children, and everything he had be sold to pay the debt.

26 “At this, the servant fell facedown before him and said, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 Then the master of that servant had compassion, released him, and forgave him the loan.

This illustration here is God towards us in our sins. Do you feel that mercy and grace upon your heart? You know that your sins were against the Holy and Loving God. God could have easily poured his wrath upon you but instead, he thought about you, loved you, and saved you from your sins.

When you don’t forgive others in the way God has forgiven you, Christ will go on to illustrate:

28 “That servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him, started choking him, and said, ‘Pay what you owe!’

29 “At this, his fellow servant fell down and began begging him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.’ 30 But he wasn’t willing. Instead, he went and threw him into prison until he could pay what was owed. 31 When the other servants saw what had taken place, they were deeply distressed and went and reported to their master everything that had happened. 32 Then, after he had summoned him, his master said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. 33 Shouldn’t you also have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And because he was angry, his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured until he could pay everything that was owed. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you unless every one of you forgives his brother or sister from your heart.”

How can we forgive: we are not God

Go to the beginning in the book of Genesis. Joseph, initially left for dead, sold into slavery, falsely accused, falsely imprisoned, only to be rescued to save His people from death. (Oddly familiar, don’t you think?)

His brothers were so afraid that Joseph, being the most powerful person in the land, would take his power and rightfully crush his brothers into smithereens.

But look at how Joseph responds:

Genesis 50:19-21 (CSB) But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result—the survival of many people. 21 Therefore don’t be afraid. I will take care of you and your children.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

How can we forgive: we are not defined and identified by the sins committed against us

Jesus Christ, he who knew no sin who became sin for us, who all the Jews and all the Gentiles, continuously sin against him while he was here on the earth. Beaten, scorned, abused, spat upon, hung upon a cross, stripped naked, as his body bled out with feces and urine leaked from his body–put to open shame among all of mankind.

But he never not once exacted his rightful wrath on anyone. Instead, look at what he does.

Luke 23:32-34 (CSB) Two others—criminals—were also led away to be executed with him. When they arrived at the place called The Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, because they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided his clothes and cast lots.

I can remember for most of my life how I would so easily be able kill my dad with my bare hands because he raped and molested me. I wanted to kill him because he shamed me and humiliated me and made me not a whole person. I spent my entire life hoping to be able to take vengeance into my own hands. I hated my dad. But God, being rich in mercy, saved me.

While he rotted in prison, I reached out to him and forgave him because I knew all too well the forgiveness of God for my wickedness and sins.

It didn’t mean I have to trust my dad. All I needed to do is forgive him and release him to God. I got to forgive him and everybody who has ever hurt me because I was no longer defined by their sins against me. In other words, I was not shame-filled, lust-filled, rape victim that became a crippling porn addict–I am a son of God.

The Prayer

My Love and My Life
 
You have forgiven everything.

Help us to forgive others.

Amen.

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