March 19, 2021 | Matthew 6:12
Dear Redeemer friends,
I jumped in the car. No! Argh! It had seemed like it was weeks away, but it had crept up on me. Somehow it came to my mind – but maybe too late. My court date! I had been in an accident and it was my fault. I pulled out into a lane while another car was switching lanes and we collided. The paper said my hearing was at 1:00 – to arrive and my name will be called. Do they throw you in jail if you miss your court date? I scramble, throwing my seat belt on and glancing at the map to see where I am going. I drive. I pull in. I run. I sling open the door. It is 1:10. I sit down – glancing around. Had my name been called? At that moment the judge looks up and calls, “Jennifer Melton?”. I shakily stand before him. He calls another name – no one moves. He talks to the cop. Then declares, “dismissed”.
I walked slowly out of the room. It did not make sense to me. I came in guilty, with offense upon offense. I walked out with no judgement. I did not deserve it. My debt needed to be paid or forgiven. It was dismissed.
Some days we may be aware of our debts. We may understand the continual ways we turn away from the Lord, and other days in our busyness or blaming of others we are slow to recognize these offenses. As Jesus is teaching his followers to pray he includes this reminder. It goes hand in hand with “Give us this day our daily bread”. It is foundational. It is as necessary- actually more necessary- to our survival than earthly bread. It points to the “bread of life” that we cannot live without.
“and forgive us our debts,”
There is something critical to our coming to him regularly to ask for his forgiveness. Could it be that we get to walk out of the courtroom forgiven and free? Over and over again. All because this same Jesus who is teaching his disciples to pray to their Father would die for them and us. He would pay our debt. It does not make sense.
This forgiveness- our debts being paid seem to come with responsibility, “as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Is it possible that this continual cycle of walking out of the court room free should result in us showing grace and forgiveness to others? Yes! Somehow he links our own forgiveness with how we forgive others. Yet it is all wrapped up in His sacrifice. He invites us to follow Him. He forgives, therefore we forgive.
Where is this hardest for you? What keeps you holding on to someone else’s offense? Have you accepted that your forgiveness is somehow connected to how you forgive others? Have you accepted His forgiveness of you today?
Let’s worship together this Sunday, relishing this glorious reality of our debts being forgiven. Let’s examine our hearts where we are slow to forgive others. Let’s worship the “Bread of Life” who makes all forgiveness real today. Amen!
RPC Director of Care and Connection
12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.