Unforgiveness vs. Inner Healing

February 4, 2017

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”  (Matthew 6:12)

The greatest obstacle to inner healing is unforgiveness. Those who work in ministries of healing claim that the lack of forgiveness on the part of a victim 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 knew 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 the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 18.  A man is forgiven a very large debt in the millions of dollars, saving him from debtor’s prison and having his 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 shared with 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


Inner Healing

July 27, 2013

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”  (Matthew 6:12)

Years ago I heard an Anglican Canon from Australia coin a new word when he said, “The greatest obstacle to inner healing is unforgiveness.  We may be experiencing unforgiveness because we lack the assurance of God’s forgiveness, or the forgiveness of people against whom we have sinned.  The source of our unforgiveness may also be that we will not forgive people who have sinned against us.”

Canon Glennon then gave many examples of people who had been brutally abused and told how their rage and hunger for revenge had retarded their own inner healing.  Consider the perfect wisdom of our Lord Who prescribed that we should pray, as some translations have it, “Forgive us our sins as we have already forgiven those who sin against us.”

Forgiveness declares a fifth eternal value: Inner healing is a greater value than physical healing.

When we confess our sins we need to forget what God forgets and remember what God remembers.  God forgives and God forgets our sins.  We have God’s Word for that.  In the New Testament we are promised that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).  In the Old Testament, God clearly tells us, “Their sins I will remember no more” (Jeremiah 31:34).  However, God remembers that we are sinners.  We forget we are sinners.  (That is at least one reason why we fall into sin again and again.)

When we confess our sins but keep remembering them after God has forgiven us, our guilt baggage shows that our faith is flawed after God has long forgotten our sins.


A Prescription for Inner Healing

January 9, 2013

“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 a victim that has been terribly violated 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 knew 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 Chapter Eighteen of Matthew.  A man is forgiven a very 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.


A Prescription for Forgiveness

September 25, 2012

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”   (Matthew 6:12 NIV)

In all the communication that flows between a husband and wife there are ten critical words that often must be spoken.  These ten words have saved marriages and the lack of them has dissolved marriages into divorce.  Those ten words are: “I was wrong.  I am sorry.  Will you forgive me?” And they critically need this ten-word response: “You were wrong.  I was hurt.  But I forgive you.”

Some people will never say the words: “I was wrong.” They never say: “I am sorry.” And they certainly would never ask for forgiveness.  They would rather live alone for the rest of their lives than to say these ten critical words.  It may be their pride prevents them or perhaps they are driven by the myth of their own perfection.  But these words can make the difference between marriage and living alone.

It is hard to imagine an unforgiving authentic disciple of Jesus Christ when the Disciple’s Prayer instructs us to forgive as we have been forgiven or we invalidate our own forgiveness (Matthew 6: 8-15).  According to the translation from which I have quoted, the teaching actually asks our Lord to forgive us as we have already forgiven those who have sinned against us.