Trespasses, our sins, this is what separates us from God and others. This is a difficult one to swallow. This verse is located in the context of what we call The Lord’s Prayer. It’s also found in Luke 11. Luke 11 has a slightly different tone to it: “and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.”
Forgiveness generally does not come easy unless you’ve had a lot of practice at it. Jesus has mastered forgiveness! He gets the highest award when it comes to forgiveness. God will forgive it all.
Jesus taught his followers to pray for forgiveness and to in turn offer forgiveness to others. Life can be so painful. My daughter Noemi is a champion of forgiveness having forgiven her parents for all they’ve done to her. She has even reconnected to her family and mostly talks with her siblings.
I felt relieved years ago to learn that forgiving someone doesn’t mean what they did was ok. It also doesn’t mean they have a right to do it again. I’ve learned forgiveness is more for us than it is for the offender. Forgiveness protects us from growing an ugly weed of bitterness in our hearts. It sets us free.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that person can have the same place in your life they had before. Sin separates and divides. Even after forgiveness has been granted healing takes time. One can forgive even if the offender never asks for forgiveness. Despite what our culture teaches, it’s the stronger one who confesses wrongdoing and reaches out to apologize. Our culture is full of examples of people lying and trying to cover their wrongs and trying to run away from consequences. God sees it all. God knows it all. Imagine how we look to God when we do this!
This verse says being forgiven hinges on our acts of forgiving others. It’s essential. Unforgiveness breeds anger, bitterness and more sin. It makes us ugly inside, the worst kind of ugly.
Anyone struggling only needs to reach out to God to ask for help forgiving. Yes it’s hard. God will help us.