Monthly Prayer Focus

October 2018

Pray – …Forgive Us Our Debts…

Written by: Thomas Sledge 

           It’s the month of October and another great opportunity God has given us to continue our focus.  This month we’ll turn our attention to a topic and something that we all can stand and do a little more of, forgiveness.  Examining the word forgiveness, it has been defined as the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitudes regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, forswears recompense for or punishment of the offender regardless of how legally or morally justified it might be, and exhibits an increased ability to wish the offender well. [1] Did you get all of that?  In simpler terminology, forgiveness means no longer being angry at another person, or at yourself, and to give up your grudge, claim of repayment, getting something in return, compensation, or retaliation against a person or circumstance that offended you.  So, what about this term forgiveness?  Pastor TD Jakes explains there are people who seek forgiveness, people who forgive, people who forgive themselves, and people who wonder if God forgives them. [2] The eighteenth-century poet Alexander Pope coined the famous phrase, “To err is human…to forgive is divine.” Used in this context, one could interpret divine as meaning: offrom, or like God. So why forgive? Why is forgiveness something we can all stand and do a little more of, and what can we learn from the bible concerning this term, ‘forgiveness?”  We’ll examine answers to these questions and search for biblical truths in this month’s prayer focus, Pray –… Forgive Us Our Debts...

            In the Book of Matthew 6:12 we find Jesus on the Mount of Beatitudes, a hill in northern Israel near the Sea of Galilee where it is believed he delivered to his followers the Sermon on the Mount, the longest monologue of Jesus found in the New Testament.  There, Jesus taught his followers to pray ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ and in Verse 12 he tells them that when they pray,Pray – …Forgive Us Our Debts…  Throughout the bible, God demonstrates an overwhelming willingness to forgive and the implications of forgiveness for believers.  In the 18th Chapter of Matthew, Jesus uses the Parable of The Unforgiving Debtor to emphasize the importance of forgiveness.  In the parable Jesus tells Peter of a servant’s plea for forgiveness from a debt owed to his king.  The king, moved by his servant’s plea, had compassion toward his servant and released hm from the debt owed to him.  The parable then portrays the same servant’s violent demand for repayment of a debt owed him by his fellow-servant.  The scene described was the servant demanding repayment of the debt owed him while clinching his hands around his fellow-servant’s throat.  Despite his begging and plea for forgiveness, the description provided to us is an angry and unforgiving servant having his fellow-servant put in jail for the debt owed him.  Now other servants seeing all that happened, and how the servant pleaded before the king and was excused his debt owed but refused to forgive and excuse the debt owed to him by his fellow-servant, were outraged.  In their outrage, they went to the servant’s king and told all that they knew of the disparity of treatment extended from the king to the servant, and the servant to his fellow-servant.  Hearing this, the king summoned his servant scolding him as wicked for his denial to extend the same compassion and forgiveness to his fellow-servant that he, the king, had extended to him.  The resultant outcome of the servant’s unwillingness to forgive was the king sentenced him to be tormented until he could repay all the debt owed to him.  The message to Pete those whom refuse to forgive others like this servant received forgiveness following his plea to his king, will in the same manner be condemned to torment.

            So, the question asked was, ‘Why forgive?  Why is forgiveness something we can all stand and do a little more of?  Like in the parable, we too have pleaded to God for forgiveness for something wrong we’ve done, and for some debt we owed and were incapable of repaying.  The bible is littered with those who went on to do great things after repentance and receiving forgiveness from God.  The bible explains in Romans 3:23 that we all have sinned and need forgiveness from God.  God is ready, eager, and has an overwhelming willingness and desire to forgive us.  Isaiah 53:6 tells us God laid our wrongdoings on his son Jesus so that we could obtain forgiveness.  So, we don’t have to wonder if God forgives us.  We can ask for God’s forgiveness and because he does, we can forgive ourselves, and others. So why not forgive?  Because Jesus said if we don’t, like the unforgiving servant who refused to forgive his fellow-servant, we too will experience the torment that results from an unforgiving heart and not extending the same empathy and forgiveness towards others that God has already extended towards us. To err is human… to forgive is divine.  Please join us this month as we turn our attention and focus on how Jesus taught his followers toPray – …Forgive Us Our Debts… 

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgiveness
  2. https://www.tdjakes.com/posts/the-4-types-of-forgiveness

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