Matthew 6:9-15 - Forgiveness

Matthew 6:9-13 is a famous passage that is popularly known as the "Lord's prayer". This title is actually a bit misleading since this prayer was merely an example of how we should pray to God. In verse 12, Jesus says: "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors." In the Greek, the word translated as "forgiven" is in one of those funny Greek tenses called the Perfect Tense. Now the Greek Perfect Tense is used to indicate an action that was completed in the past and has continuing results. In this verse, it implies that in order for us to ask God to forgive our sins, we must have already forgiven those who have sinned against us! God has forgiven us of an insurmountable debt, yet often we find it difficult or impossible to forgive others for offenses that are nothing in comparison. Here, Jesus is presenting the same message as that of the Parable of the Unforgiving Servant (Matthew 18-23-35) - how can we expect God to forgive us when we are not willing to forgive others? What right do we have to withhold forgiveness? The only thing stopping us from forgiving others is our pride and the Bible teaches that God opposes proud people! (James 4:6). We all need to think very carefully about the words of Matthew 6:14-15: "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

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