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Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors

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In Matthew 8:12 of the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus says, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” 

But can we truly forgive as God has forgiven us?  

In Hebrews 8:12 God says, “I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.”  Forgive and forget?  It sounds impossible.  Can a God who is all-knowing really forget my sins?  When I stand before Him, will His mind be blank?  What if I commit a sin just before dying and never ask for forgiveness?  Will He remember that one and hold it against me? 

These are the questions I wrestled with as I grew in Christ.  My Christian culture highlighted the idea of forgiving and forgetting.  I heard sermon after sermon about keeping short accounts of my sin because if I came to God without confessing each and every one of them, I would have to answer to Him one day.  I feared standing before God.  What if I forgot something and failed to repent?  I envisioned standing before Him with my head hung in shame, void of joy. 

As I have grown in Christ and studied the Scriptures more closely, I realized that the things I was led to believe were not good theology.

First, let’s take a closer look at the word “remember” in Hebrews 8:12.  According to HELPS Word-studies, the Greek word used here, mnaomai, means to recall or bring to mind.  The idea is that once we are forgiven God chooses to not bring to His mind our past offenses.   He still knows that our nature is to sin, but by accepting Jesus’ gift of salvation, all of our sins are forgiven.  We are in right relationship with God.  Jesus Christ has paid our debt so that we can one day stand before God with the righteousness of Jesus Christ as our very own. 

I asked a friend once, “If when you stand before God He asks, ‘Why do you deserve to come into My presence?’ what would say?”  She answered just as I had anticipated.  “I don’t deserve to come into Your presence.”

“I disagree,” I said, and her eyes grew as big as saucers.  But I had finally grasped this concept that the person and work of Jesus Christ are all that could possibly bring me to a place of restoration with God.

Now let’s consider the next part of the statement, “As we forgive our debtors.”  At some time or another, each of us has experienced an offense from another person.  As others sin against us, they now find themselves in our debt.  What will we choose to do? 

We. Must. Forgive.

There are three people in my life who have utterly betrayed me.  Their actions cut deeply into my heart and left me with scars that will only be removed when this life is over.  I struggled to forgive them.  Countless times I prayed that God would help me to forgive, and just when I thought that I had forgiven, something would trigger my memory and I was reliving the offense again.

I was trapped in a cycle of shame longing to “forgive and forget.”  The bad theology of my youth crept back in telling me that I was a failure at forgiveness.   But the truth brought me back to the idea that forgiveness does not mean forgetting.  Forgiveness does not mean ignoring.  Forgiveness is making a conscious choice to not bring up the offense again.  When your spouse, friend, co-worker, etc. hurts your feelings for the hundredth time, do not bring up the other 99 already forgiven.  Forgive again, and don’t bring that up either. 

You may ask, “What if the person is not repentant?  How can I have closure?”  Not one of the three people in my life has ever even acknowledged the hurt inflicted much less repented for it.  I cannot do anything about that.  I cannot force them to see things my way.  I cannot insist that they repent.  Only the Holy Spirit can work in their hearts to bring them to that place. 

All I can do is allow the Holy Spirit to change my heart and forgive, because I have been forgiven.  I can choose not to bring up the offense again.  I can choose put the things of the past behind me and press on to the things that God has put before me.

Forgiveness is a choice, and it is much easier to make the choice to forgive others when we remember how God has forgiven us.  And we are reminded of this when we pray, “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”

Posted by Bethany Lay with 0 Comments

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

For the past few weeks we’ve been praying as a church to be more mindful of God’s holiness. We’ve grown in awareness of God’s sovereignty and seeking God’s kingdom to come. In doing so, we are asking God to help humble us into submission to surrender everything we value above God’s kingdom so we can align our hearts to genuinely seek first the kingdom of God.

As he’s teaching the disciples to pray what we call the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus is shifting from the horizontal, heavenward portion of the prayer to our vertical, earthly needs. After we have correctly aligned ourselves with God’s holiness, we then petition him to provide us with what we need. Jesus utters the phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread,” but this is not limited to the provision of food. Here we can ask our Heavenly Father to meet every physical, emotional, or spiritual need. However, as we bring our requests to God, it is essential to recognize our greatest need is Jesus.

Remember that time Jesus took a few loaves of bread and used it to feed the five thousand? Jesus performed an incredible miracle, and the peoples’ reaction was to make him king. It wasn’t because they loved Jesus, but they loved what he gave them. Jesus had snuck away to Capernaum, but the crowd found him the next day. Jesus didn’t sugar coat his response to them:

John 6:26-27
“Truly, truly I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”
           

Jesus responded this way because he knew their hearts. They were seeking food rather than seeking Jesus. Then they responded with a genuine desire to do the works of God to earn the bread of life, yet they were still missing the point that he was not speaking of physical bread. Jesus was offering the spiritual bread of eternal life to them. In the ongoing conversation, the crowd referenced Moses giving their ancestors manna from the sky while they wandered in the desert, but Jesus countered:

John 6:32-33, 35
“Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

The story of God sending manna to the ancestors of those in the crowd is also referenced in Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 8:3
“And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.”

This verse reflects the lesson Jesus attempts to teach those in the crowd in Capernaum. He attempted to teach them that God is not merely there to supply provisions of nourishment, but they can trust in God with full confidence to meet their spiritual needs. The ultimate example of God simultaneously providing a physical and spiritual need is through the Last Supper.

Luke 22:19
“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’”

Jesus demonstrated to the disciples at the last supper that his body was like the bread they were about to eat because both would be broken for their benefit. In doing so, he confirmed how far he’d go to meet the needs of those he has called to be part of his kingdom.

Asking God for your daily bread is not simply asking God to provide food for the day. Petitioning God for daily bread is asking for a daily portion of Jesus Christ. Just as God sent manna to those wandering in the desert, God sent Jesus, the bread of life, to his people. God cares for all of your needs, but he is mostly concerned with fulfilling your need for Jesus because above all else, we need Jesus.

Order of Service

There is a Fountain
It Is Finished
Calvary's King
Offertory
Your Love is Strong
Sermon: Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread by Pastor Andrew
Closing Song: It Is Finished

Posted by Laura Rogers with 0 Comments

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