If you’ve grown up in church, you’ve probably heard the Lord’s Prayer repeatedly, and you have likely said again and again, “forgive us our offenses (or debts), as we forgive those who have offended us.” Although the words may have become routine, I encourage you to think about what they mean. In essence, when you pray that sentence, you are saying, Lord, forgive me to the same extent that I have forgiven others. This is how Jesus teaches us to pray, and honestly, it’s kind of heavy. He then goes on to say, “for if you forgive men their sins, your Heavenly Father will forgive you of your sins, but if you do not forgive men of their sins, your Heavenly Father will not forgive you of your sins.”
While this can be hard to understand since we know that we are saved by grace alone, Jesus teaches that there is a Spiritual reality at work that says that as we receive forgiveness from the Lord, we should, like a funnel, allow mercy, compassion and love to spill out to the people around us. In doing so, we become conduits of God’s grace and power.
Friend, forgiveness is really important to Jesus. He taught his disciples about it constantly and He became the ultimate demonstration of it when He went to the cross. He took every wrong thought, offensive word, and sin of our hearts upon Himself willingly in the ultimate act of mercy and compassion. Having been set free from so much, it’s easy to see why it’s imperative that we set others free. Nothing makes us more like Jesus than when we forgive, so let’s do it willingly and frequently, in His Name!