An eye-opening discussion on forgiveness

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:9-12).

IDEA: We cannot ask our heavenly Father to deal with our sin one way and then turn around and deal with other people’s sin another way.

PURPOSE: To help listeners realize that our prayers for the forgiveness of sin must be inclusive.

The petition in the Lord’s Prayer asks, “Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Can you see how this request could trouble us?

I. It sounds like a conditional arrangement.

It seems to say that our forgiving someone else is a way of getting God to forgive us.

We “prime the pump” of our Father’s mercy by our acts of mercy.

What troubles you about this way of interpreting what Jesus said?

II. Actually, what Jesus is talking about here is consistency.

I am not to ask God to deal with my sin against Him one way and then go out and deal with some sin against me another way.

This is the point of the parable in Matthew 18:23-35: Jesus imagines a situation in which a man is forgiven a debt of a hundred million dollars and accepted such mercy. He then went out and beat up a fellow servant who owed him a hundred dollars, and had him thrown into prison until he could pay his debt.

III. We must decide what strategy we will use toward sin and then apply it to ourselves and ask that our Father will apply it to us.

For me to want mercy for my sins and harsh justice for the sins of others is spiritual schizophrenia.

You dare not ask your heavenly Father to deal with you in one way and then you deal with others in another way.

Will you pray earnestly for daily forgiveness as you pray for daily bread?