There is a part of the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 that says, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” (ESV) In the Amplified version is says, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. The NLT simply uses the word Sins.
As a child I learned the word, Trespasses. Now, I cannot find that in any version of the Lord’s Prayer in verse 12. However, scan down to verses 14 and 15 you do see that word used. In fact, it says in the King James Version, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” The Amplified and the ESV also use the word Trespasses.
So what are Trespasses? As a noun, it can mean. . . 1) encroachment, an intrusion into somebody’s privacy or time and/or 2) sin, an act of wrongdoing. At the end of the definition as a verb, there is an entry that says, ‘to cause injury to the person or to the rights of another’.
Notice that the verse starts with asking God to forgive you first. We need to come before God with a heart of repentance. This is a daily activity. We need to be in right standing with Him to receive anything from Him.
Do you feel that God forgives you? Many times that ‘feeling’ of un-forgiveness really comes from inside of us because we have not forgiven ourselves. The Debts we are carrying around, the obligation, the condition of owing God something so great weighs us down. You think, How can I ever scrub away all the bad things so that God will want to forgive me? That’s the lie Satan has planted in your mind. If you ask for forgiveness, guess what, He freely gives it. AND, He doesn’t remember it so He can use it against you later (like Satan and humans).
Life in Christ is freedom. He has not given you the chains, the hang-ups, the self-doubt, the debt. You have given that to yourself and you need to let it go. God wants to ‘dance over you in joyful song’ (Zephaniah 3:17). Let Him. Your prayer time with Him becomes a celebration.
Debts also talk about being ‘overdue’. Are you overdue on forgiving yourself for the things you have done in the past? If every day we have to come to God and confess new things, then we need to have this down so we can really move on in our relationship with Him. Don’t be stuck. True growth only takes place if you are free from the things that are hindering growth. In this case it IS un-forgiveness of self.
The next part of the verse is forgiving others. I like the how the Amplified version expands the definition . . . ‘forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against). Wow, see how we need God? We cannot possibly do this on our own. God has forgiven us in this way and He wants us to do the same. How many times have you heard, ‘Well, I have forgiven them but I haven’t forgotten’, but in the person’s voice you really do hear the resentment? Of course you will not forget what was done to you but in forgiving it you have given over its power to control your thoughts and emotions.
AND, God is super-serious about this forgiveness command. He says He will forgive you in the same way you forgive others. Whew! Watch out. So, how can you do it? How can any of us truly forgive others? I have an illustration.
GOD > YOU > OTHERS
It starts with God forgiving you. This is where you may be sitting right now because you haven’t figured out that God really does forgive you and you are FREE. Free to love yourself and grow in your relationship with Him. By filling up on God in this relationship you now have POWER. This Power from God gives you Everything you need to do what God asks you to do (like forgive others). He is behind you infusing you with His Power. AND, that is the only way you are able to forgive others because it is active and alive through you.
I used the arrows to give it a feeling of momentum. God will help you to continually forgive others as you continually ask Him to forgive you. It is a process, a flow from Him → through You → to others.
Prayer, talking with God, is the ONLY way to get the flow, the momentum, going. You have to cooperate with God in order for His power to flow through you. Cooperating means believing what He says in His Word that you are forgiven and He has thrown it, removed it, far from you (Psalms 103:12). Allow God to pour into you through your prayer time. Ask Him to give you the power, the tools, the way to forgive yourself and to forgive others.
This daily exercise brings your heart to the heart of God. It opens up new insights as you read His Word and talk with Him. The Freeing power of forgiveness allows you to see things clearer and grows your relationship with your Heavenly Father.
Wise Woman, I know how busy you are. I also know that you want to make the most of each encounter with God. So, plan your time with Him. You know your day will go much better when you fill up with God first. Then, Wise Woman, you will overflow into all the other parts of your life in a way that is good and serves others. Only by connecting to God, to His super-abundance, in a way that speaks to your heart will you be satisfied. By developing your Personalized Faith Plan (PFP) you will know exactly how you best connect to Him. You will also be given activities to incorporate into your spiritual life that will make a real difference in your faith. No more guesswork, these activities are designed to grow your relationship with Christ in a manner true to how He has created you.
In Colossians 3:13 (NLT) it says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
This is Deneen, the Titus Teacher and founder of Grow From Your Overflow, Tap into HIS Super-abundance and you will thrive.