Day Six: ‘Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…’ (Matthew 6, verse 12) Readings: Matthew 18:21-35; Luke 15:11-32 Today we are going to focus on spiritual needs. I can imagine how keen you are to enter the presence of a Father who is Holy. Without wishing to curb your enthusiasm, allow me to ask for a moment of silence and looking inwards. An unavoidable truth is that entry to the presence of the heavenly Father is blocked, because there is a serious problem which needs to be solved. It is the problem of sin. This is what separates us from our Father and makes any communication with Him at this level impossible. We are all contaminated by sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Not just contaminated but also and especially, condemned to eternal death. We have inherited this sin from our earliest forebears (Romans 5:12). That’s the bad news. However, this bad news is followed by good news and there is hope! Since the great problem of humanity is that of sin, their greatest need is that of forgiveness. This is what our Father in heaven offers to anyone who asks for it. The Word of God reminds us that for all those who are in Christ, there is no way that their sins as believers can sink them once again into condemnation and eternal judgement. (Romans 8:1). But watch out! While we are rejoicing at this good news, let’s not lose sight of the fact that we should always stay aware of our daily failings and weaknesses, as they affect our relationship with our Father in heaven. We constantly need to ask our heavenly Father for forgiveness for the sins we continue to commit, consciously or unconsciously, by word or deed, and attitude or thought. So, knowing that we must maintain our relationship with our Father, this prayer ‘Forgive us our debts’ is vital. Asking for forgiveness means we must confess all our sins before Him, whether known or unknown. According to His word, he is just and faithful in forgiving us and purifying us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). But remember that Jesus Christ does not teach us only to ask our Father to forgive us. He adds that we also must forgive those who have offended us. ‘Forgive’ means simply to ‘let go’, ‘release’ or ‘liberate’. Forgiveness for the child of God is not an option, it is a command in the Word of God (Ephesians 4:32). If we forgive those who have offended us, how much more will our Father in heaven forgive us when we ask His pardon? Now the song of David becomes a reality in our lives: ‘Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.‘ (Psalm 32:1-2). Verses of the day: For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. (Matthew 6:14-15). Prayer Points:
- Take time to confess your sins before your Father who is in heaven.
- Think of the people you have not yet forgiven, and ask God to give you the grace to forgive them, thus freeing them from the slavery of sin.
- Pray for illumination, so that you may be able to uncover the designs of Satan (2 Corinthians 2:11), and also be able to resist him (1 Peter 5:8, 9).