The significance of these verses is directly tied to a portion of The Lords Prayer (read 6:7-13) when Jesus says, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (12). Jesus offers commentary on the forgiveness portion of the prayer as a way of concluding the lesson to the crowds gathered for the Sermon on the Mount. The word forgive (aphiemi) literally means to hurl away and there are two ideas essential to understanding the role forgiveness plays in the Christians life. First, we cannot know on an experiential level Gods forgiveness apart from forgiving others of their mistakes. Second, the only prerequisite for forgiving others is their offense. We need not wait for them to come broken before us to forgive, rather we should liberally offer forgiveness to any and all who owe us any kind of a debt. God becoming a man and dying on the cross has hurled our sins away as far as the east is from the west, so we should offer the forgiving act of hurling away any wrongs directed towards us.
My five-year-old son and I are fishing partners. Our time together at the end of the dock is priceless and this past weekend he managed to catch the biggest fish of his life! It was so big that at first I thought he had gotten his hook caught on something, it wasnt until his persistence drug this three pounder up to the edge of the dock that I realized what he had. It was so heavy that I thought his little rod was going to snap in half when I pulled it out of the water. It took two hands to hold and he could hardly contain his excitement as I held it up to show him. Now it was time to take a picture so that the legend could live on for years to come. Then in one moment the fish fought his way free (I think I heard him say in his best Braveheart voice: Freedom!) from my hands as I dropped it back into the water. It was an awkward shameful moment, how could I drop the biggest fish he had ever caught before even taking a picture of it? I stood there in silence as the fish swam away yet moments later I heard his little voice say, I forgive you daddy, lets catch another one. Before I could even ask forgiveness, he had taken my mistake and hurled it from his thinking. Forgive and you will be forgiven.
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