Forgive us our debts
And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors… Matthew 6:7-12
The longer I live the more I learn to understand things I once thought cheesy and cliche’. Six years ago, I was a fairly cynical person to the Christmas season. Now add a family, and I am all in. We decorate, blast the songs for a month straight… everything. The same thing is true about new year’s resolutions. I used to think they were silly, after all, if you want to make a change, just do it. What do you need a new calendar for it. However, the more I read the Bible, the more I become aware of the value of ascribing value to certain special events. The Israelite people had several festivities plugged into their calendars. One such event was scheduled every 50 years- the year of Jubilee. In such a year, all debts, both new and old, were to be wiped away. Property rights would revert back to their original owners. What a great time to be alive! Except there’s one problem. In spite of having this amazing year on the calendar, most believe that Israel never celebrated a true Jubilee. My question is “Why not?” I believe the answer can be found in Jesus’s words “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Forgiveness is something we all want for ourselves but struggle to extend to another. By requiring forgiveness be extended in order to be received, Jesus makes sure that we do not take the grace of God lightly. In other words, as we extend forgiveness to those who have wronged us we receive the minutest understanding that what God has done for us in Christ is nothing that simple. “I forgive you” was not some sort of offhanded statement. So this year, as we begin to make resolutions and plans for the year to come, let us begin by releasing others of the debt of needing to make all things right with us. Let us begin 2020 by extending a clean slate to those we might have grievances with, because as we do so, we also experience the great relief of knowing that in the kingdom of God, Jesus has forgiven all our debts as well. Let’s start this year off by extending a year of Jubilee to others.
Today, let this be your prayer: Lord, thank you for your forgiveness. God I know that there is a struggle in me to let go of the debts owed me. Give me perspective. Help me to see that you have forgiven me far more than I could ever forgive anyone else. Amen