And forgive us our debts,…
Matthew 6:12a (KJV)
Dear God, I started this verse and almost focused on the second part, skipping over the first, so I decided to avoid my mistake of skipping over “Our Father which art in heaven” and going straight to “hallowed be thy name” in verse 9. I don’t want to miss Jesus’s instruction that we should ask forgiveness of you.
The humility to ask forgiveness of you is the first step on the road to discipleship. None of us can come to you in our own power or under our own authority. None of us can stand up before you. You are good and perfect. We are flawed and sinful. You are loving. I am too sensitive and get my fragile ego hurt too easily. I need your mercy. I need your grace. I need you to forgive my debts against you and against others.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that one of the steps in a 12-step program is for a person working the steps to make amends when it won’t do harm to do so. And there are certainly times when it would do harm. But the humility it takes to come before you and before another person to ask forgiveness is an essential element, if not a huge part of the foundation, of the Christian life.
I still remember hearing a politician who called himself a Christian telling an interviewer before a large Christian audience that he had never felt the need to ask you for forgiveness. He had had multiple divorces and affairs. He had left creditors hanging with unpaid debt. Heck, even without all of those things, he was an imperfect human. I was very confused with the audience applauded his answer.
Father, forgive me of my debts, please. We will get to what I need to do about others’ debts to me tomorrow, but for the debts I owe to you and to those around me, please forgive me. I am sorry. I’m sorry I fail you. I’m sorry I hurt others for my own gain. I’m sorry I sometimes pick the path of least resistance for my own comfort and at the expense of others. I’m sorry I sometimes take revenge on others for the wrongs done to me (that gets into tomorrow’s verse, but it counts for today as well). Thank you that the man who taught us to pray all of this is the pathway to you. Thank you that I can stand before you on his authority and with his blessing. Thank you for making a way for me to reach you.
In Jesus’s name I pray,