“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12)
The greatest obstacle to inner healing is un-forgiveness. Those who work in ministries of healing claim that the lack of forgiveness on the part of victims who have been terribly hurt can retard their own inner healing.
Can you see why Jesus instructed His disciples to pray every day: “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors?” The original language has it, “As we have already forgiven our debtors.” Do you think Jesus knows how important it is to our inner healing that we should forgive those who sin against us?
Some are bothered by the way Jesus offers commentary on this petition in the Disciple’s Prayer. He commented that if we do not forgive we are not forgiven. It almost sounds as if we are forgiven because we forgive. He defuses their confusion with a parable that is recorded in Matthew 18. A man is forgiven a large debt in the millions of dollars. He does not have to go into debtor’s prison and see his wife and family sold into slavery.
But on the way home he meets a man who owes him twenty dollars. He grabs him by the throat and orders him to pay him every cent or he will have him put into debtor’s prison. Both events are observed and told to the one who forgave him the large debt. He is recalled and his forgiveness is revoked. Jesus comments on that story that if we from our hearts do not forgive, we are not forgiven.
The point is that if we are a forgiven person we will be a forgiving person. If we are not a forgiving person we are not really a forgiven person.
Dick Woodward, 09 January 2013