“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Jesus taught his followers this prayer, and it is often called “The Lord’s Prayer.” But it is a prayer that Jesus didn’t need to pray. He had no debts or sins for which he needed forgiveness. His disciples did, though, so he taught them this prayer. We also need this prayer, don’t we?
Acknowledging that we need forgiveness is not easy. But look at the last part of this request: “. . . as we also have forgiven our debtors.” I sometimes wonder, “If God were to forgive us as we forgive others, how forgiven would we be?”
A difficult experience we had in Nigeria makes me think about this prayer. The steward we hired was a trusted part of our family. He knew our ways, including the place where we hid the key for our cash drawer. We caught him one day—almost in the act of taking money from the drawer.
Even so, he denied it—strongly. Then later, but not willingly, he admitted what he had done. He begged us to forgive his “debt.” It was not easy to forgive. We were hurt and grieved. Did he deserve forgiveness? But what about us—did we deserve God’s forgiveness for our sins?
We prayed. We sought the advice of a wise Nigerian friend. We were led to forgive our steward, and he continued to work for us.
Lord, we are debtors. Forgive us our debts. Shape us into forgivers who also dare to pray the rest of this petition: “. . . as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Amen.