Reconcile and Reciprocate
Read Matthew 6:12 (ESV)
“…and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
Why does Jesus say that we should forgive people who have sinned against us?
Have you ever held onto a grudge? I know I have. Many of us struggle to let people off the hook for ways that they have hurt us, even if they ask for forgiveness. We think we can make them pay if we push them away and withhold forgiveness. “They don’t deserve it” we think to ourselves. But without forgiveness, relationships are strained or even broken. Even worse, withholding forgiveness makes us look like hypocrites. After all, part of becoming a Christian is acknowledging our own sins and our own need for forgiveness. Who are we to withhold what was freely given to us?
In today’s verse, Jesus continued His model prayer for the disciples. After praising God the Father, asking Him to bring about His kingdom, surrendering to His will, and petitioning Him to provide for daily needs, Jesus requested forgiveness. Now, we know that Jesus lived a perfect life. He had no need for forgiveness. But He was modeling prayer for His disciples and they definitely needed forgiveness. Just as we do! So, He told us to ask the Father for it.
If we have never confessed our sins to God, sought His forgiveness, and accepted His work on the cross on our behalf, our relationship with God is not just strained. It is completely broken. In Colossians 1:21 (NIV), Paul wrote: “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior.” Those who are apart from Christ are considered enemies of God! But, Paul goes on in Colossians 1:22-23a, “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.”
The hope of the Gospel is that even though our evil behavior has estranged us from God, our relationship with Him can be restored. Mercy, grace, forgiveness, and reconciliation are found in Jesus Christ.
Now, how should we live in light of the underserved mercy and grace that God gave us through Christ? Jesus said that we should also forgive those who sin against us. We make mistakes, we’ve done wrong, and we have been pardoned. Shouldn’t we offer the same to those who have done us wrong?
Friends, God is faithful to forgive us. He made a way to reconcile us to the Father. Just as He has forgiven us, so we are to forgive those who sin against us. We’ve experienced underserved reconciliation. Let’s reciprocate.
Father, thank You for being faithful to forgive our sins through Your Son, Jesus Christ. I confess my sins to You and I am grateful for the mercy and grace You have given me. Help me to reciprocate by forgiving those who have sinned against me. Amen.