12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12
As I slumped in my chair, eyes on the floor, my husband looked intently at me. He, and then I, almost burst into laughter at the ridiculous words spilling out of my mouth: “I can’t be a mom.” I knew it wasn’t true but it was how I felt at the moment. I had done it again. Blown up at my son.
My creative, precocious, and strong-willed seven year old boy had been more than challenging that day. I had let our conflicts escalate until I had lost it. Now I was a crumbled mess in the aftermath of my angry outbursts. Shame and regret made me want to curl up in a ball and retreat to my room for the rest of the day. Why try again? I would surely fail.
And then these words of Jesus wash over my soul like water cleansing fine linen: “and forgive us our debts.” I’m forgiven. Jesus, help me accept your forgiveness. I choose to stop this torrent of self-condemnation. My debt has been paid in full. His forgiveness has cancelled the record against me. I must forgive myself as well. And then I remember the previous verse “give us this day our daily bread.” I don’t just need forgiveness one time. It is my daily bread. I need Jesus every day. I need His forgiveness every day.
As I receive His forgiveness I’m able to extend it to others. To my son. When I recognize that I’m freely forgiven, I am freed to forgive. But I need the Holy Spirit’s help. It’s not natural to forgive (others or ourselves). It is much more than a feeling; it’s an act of the will. But oh, Jesus knows of our need for forgiveness and the redemption comes through it. He says ask for it. You will receive it. Give it. You will be freed. You will be blessed.
Today think about a time recently when you experienced the emotions of failure. Did you look to and receive Jesus’ forgiveness? Ask Him today and give thanks for His amazing sacrifice and what it cost Him to forgive your debts. Is there a person in your life you would rather not pray for, who seems too hard to forgive? Ask the Holy Spirit to help you surrender to His good ways and make the choice to forgive.
By Ellen Rosenberger