by Aaron Bjorklund
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. Matthew 6:12
One of the significant risks we run into as humans is losing touch with the gravity of our sin. We know that some sins affect other persons, but other sins may be private. No one knows about them; they only affect us and our relationship with God. If we distinguish between public and private sins, we lose touch with the nature of sin. Sin is a contagious disease that ALWAYS affects others. Even those sins that we don’t think anyone knows about.
Yes, God has decisively dealt with our sin through the cross, so for us there is NO condemnation anymore for sin, but it’s still systemically dangerous. God doesn’t hate sin for some arbitrary reason; he hates it because he knows it damages us and others. This part of the Lord’s prayer acknowledges how connected our debts are to others. We cannot escape the damage brought about by our own and other people’s sins.
When you pray for forgiveness, this text encourages you to acknowledge and forgive how other people’s sins have damaged you. This prayer recognizes the forgiveness of sin, but it also takes sin seriously enough to address it and seek mercy. Perhaps this week, as you pray, ask God to forgive you but also to open your eyes to how your sin affects others — even if it is simply by how sin can change your attitude toward those around you.
Note. To access scripture links that don’t appear in the email version, read the web version in your browser.