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Dr. Ray Pritchard Christian Blog and Commentary

Day 23: As

  • Dr. Ray Pritchard
    Dr. Ray Pritchard
    Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 29 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The ABCs of Christmas, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 39 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and four grandchildren grandsons: Knox, Eli, Penny and Violet. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
  • 2009 Mar 23
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“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors”
(Matthew 6:12).

There are 11 words in the text, but only one of them is important for our purposes. It’s the little word “as.” Everything hangs on the meaning of that word. “As” is the conjunction that joins the first half of the petition with the second half. When Jesus says “as,” he is setting up a comparison between the way we forgive and the way God forgives us. When you pray this prayer you are really saying, “O God, deal with me as I deal with other people. Deal with me as I have dealt with others.” We are virtually saying, “O God, I’ve got a neighbor and I did some favors for my neighbor and my neighbor is ungrateful to me for all I have done. I am angry at my neighbor and I will not forgive him for his ingratitude. Now deal with me as I have dealt with my neighbor.” It’s as if we’re praying, “O God, that man hurt me. I am so angry I can’t wait to get even. Deal with me as I have dealt with him.”

To refuse to forgive someone else and then to ask God for forgiveness is a kind of spiritual schizophrenia. You are asking God to give you what you are unwilling to give to someone else. The fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer tells us you cannot have it both ways. Do you want to be forgiven? You must forgive others. Unless you forgive you will not be forgiven.

When we are angry and bitter …
When we begin to envy others …
When we criticize those who aren’t like us …
When we pass along rumors …
When we cling to hurtful memories . . .
When we argue with those who call us to forgive . . .
When we respond harshly to those who bother us …
When we lose our temper …
When we answer hastily with foolish words …
When we judge others harshly …
When you answer your spouse with harsh, cruel words …
When you are impatient and irritable toward your children …
When you have no time to be kind to the less fortunate …
When you go through your day with a perpetual scowl …

When we act like that, it is always because we have forgotten the goodness of the Lord. The little word “as” reminds us that God has joined together the vertical and the horizontal. What God has joined together, we dare not separate. Our God freely forgave us while we were his enemies. Can we not do for others what he has done for us?

God of grace, you have forgiven us for so much. Help us to forgive as you have forgiven so that we may be forgiven as we forgive others. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.  

You can reach the author at ray@keepbelieving.com. Click here to sign up for the free weekly email sermon.