Topic: The Lord’s Prayer 5
Scriptures: Matthew 6:9-13
Speaker: Rev. Joe Pang
Summarized By: Hilda Lam
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Have you ever had a glance of the black box full of grievances in your heart? Since when have we got used to throwing our wounds into the box again and again, and let the resentment, suspicion and indifference dominate us unwittingly?
For the scripture “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” in the Lord’s Prayer, the wordings “as we also” and “for we also” are used in Matthew and Luke respectively (Matthew: 6:12; Luke: 11:4). The former explains that the Lord forgives us in the same way we forgive others. The latter is more radical and direct than the former: we are forgiven simply because we forgive others.
The two verses use different wordings and have different meanings, but in fact they complement each other. The metaphor in Matthew’s Gospel (Matthew 18:23-35) and Jesus’ response (Matthew 18:22) point out the importance of forgiveness repeatedly, giving us an illusion that Jesus cares only about the other side on the topic of forgiveness. But in fact, the protagonists of these verses are always us.
Why are we reluctant or unable to forgive others? Let us ask ourselves how many times we have been betrayed, denied, and rejected in our pursuit of intimate relationships. We are eager to be loved and to be cared for, and we summon the courage to build friendship, find a partner, and join the church. Conflicts, confusions and misunderstandings snag us all the time. Grievances build up in our hearts, and eventually we become so indifferent that we don’t even dare to enter a relationship again. In order to protect ourselves, we reject others’ appreciation of ourselves, deny ourselves, and even become the first one to hurt others.
With the passing of the years, the hatred in our heart has eroded our soul and life, and we have become unable to feel love, even if it is God’s love. Now we can see, unless we take the initiative to forgive others, we will never understand, or even personally experience the forgiveness of God, and the love and tolerance brought by forgiveness. The decision to be forgiven by God has always been in our hands. God is always ready to forgive us, but we hesitate to accept this forgiveness.
Forgiving is not easy. The people who hurt us the most are often the ones we trust the most, the ones closest to us: family, partners, cell group members, or even church coworkers. The trauma is still in the limelight, and how can we forgive? God says, “Yes, with God all things are possible.” We cannot modify our memory, but this time, having mercy and compassion in our hearts, let us try to consider another’s difficulties with empathy, and actively cooperate with God to review our past. All kinds of resentment can be forgiven.
When you can’t sincerely forgive a person, you can never feel God’s forgiveness. Today, let us re-examine our black box with the reminder of the Lord’s Prayer, and see how all kinds of resentment affect us. May we try to rely on God, to “forgive our debtors.”
“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19)