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  • Writer's pictureRMB

Forgiven and Forgiving

Once there was a man who owed millions of dollars.


Because he was unable to pay, this man was completely sunk: his goods would be repossessed; his family sold into slavery; and he would toil in hard labour until the day of his death. Even then, his debt would remain.


That man, says Jesus, is us. We owe God a massive debt.


As his creatures, we owe God obedience—but we have not given it.


And so as law-breakers, we owe God the penalty for our crimes—but we cannot give that either.


Our debt is infinitely beyond our ability to pay.


What then can we do? Can we claim bankruptcy, and so receive a clean slate? God’s justice won’t allow it.


What we need is outside help, someone who can actually be obedient to God in our place, and who can pay the penalty for our sins. That man is Jesus.


Jesus declares that all who put their trust in him may pray each day, “Father, please forgive us our debts.” And for the sake of Christ, God will wipe away all that we owe.


And those who’ve been forgiven have been changed.


Think of that man with the massive debt. If he was unexpectedly and completely forgiven everything that he owed, it could only be expected that he’d live in a very different way than he did before. Through another’s kindness, he had received his life back, his family, his freedom. So now he will be profoundly thankful. And now he will treat others with a similar grace.


That’s the second half of this prayer:

Father, forgive us our debts…as we have forgiven our debtors.

Because we have been forgiven so much by God, we are called to forgive the wrongs that others have committed against us. It is time to let go of past grudges, to stop remembering old hurts, and to reach out in a generous and Christ-like love.


Having received mercy, let us show mercy!


***

Scripture: Matthew 18:21-35


Prayer: Father in heaven, thank you for the free gift of your forgiveness in Christ. Help me now to live in gratitude to you, and in love for others. Amen.


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