If You Forgive. Why, at the end of the Lord's Prayer, does Jesus add these verses? Is this not just a repetition of verse 12? "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Matthew 6:14-15, NKJV
Why, at the end of the Lord's Prayer, does Jesus add these verses? Is this not just a repetition of verse 12? "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
When God takes the time to make a point twice, we need to listen. Jesus knows the propensity of our hearts to think of ourselves as being better than others, especially if we are aware of their sins. We will not, in our own selves, forgive others. We will, rather, remember what they have done. Often our memories will fester for years and years, causing great bitterness and even hatred to take root in our hearts and lives.
Who has sinned the most? Have those who have wronged us sinned more than we have sinned before God? That really is the point, is it not? No matter what anyone has done, when we stand before God, though we may think of ourselves as ever so righteous, we are condemned. When God looks upon us He stamps, "condemned" upon our very souls, and there is nothing we can do about it!
Christ looks upon us and says, "Do you desire forgiveness? Then, forgive others, just as I have forgiven you."
The forgiveness we have received from Christ is not due to our goodness, or any merit in and of ourselves. We cannot earn salvation, and we cannot buy salvation. Salvation comes to us only when we fall before Christ, condemned, and totally unable to change our own hearts. Only as we look to Him and cry out for salvation, will we be saved.
With the salvation of Christ comes total forgiveness. Now when God looks upon our hearts, He sees the perfect blood of Christ. Have we deserved this? No! Then, if God has granted to us such complete and full forgiveness, which we could never deserve, how can we look upon any who have wronged us and not forgive them?
The truth that Christ is illustrating is that being a Christian is not just a momentary decision to be rescued from our sins. Being a Christian involves a complete change of our hearts and lives. Gone are the selfish desires that so permeated our beings; instead, the grace of Christ rules in our hearts and lives.
Of course, that change does not necessarily happen immediately. The sins into which we have fallen do not necessarily disappear immediately. Often it takes years of studying God's Word and praying for His help to release us from the bonds of sin which so easily entangle us.
Let us, then, pray that God would grant to us a spirit of forgiveness. Let us immerse ourselves in His Word, reading and memorizing its glorious truths. Let us pray, daily, for strength and help to live our lives in a manner which is pleasing and glorifying to God, our Father.
Go, then, in God's strength, and remember that if you forgive men their trespasses, God will forgive you!