Debt Forgiveness


Today we’re taking our prayer request to a new level—one that is probing and deeply personal. We ask for forgiveness, for ourselves, for the ones we’re praying about, for those involved in the pain that has brought us to our knees.

I’d rather pray for bread.

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

Debts. I have debts. Plural. I owe my friend $5 when I was short for the lunch tab. I owe a reciprocal dinner. I owe others for acts of kindness too many to count and too thoughtful to match. I owe visits and emails, words of gratitude and patient listening, encouragement and caring about your story. And that’s just on this plane.

I owe God my life. I am straddled with a debt of forgiveness I can’t pay—a life I cannot purify enough to make worthy, thoughts that dwell on unhappiness more than on Him, service I’m not selfless enough to give, praise that forgets my faltering ego and exalts Him, trust that usurps my fears, worship that is not minimized by mood.

So, I inadequately come to the One who paid all these debts and more, and offer nothing as I ask Him to forgive me—again. I receive sweet mercy and astounding grace. And then I remember the qualifier—forgive as I have forgiven my debtors.

Is there someone I’m holding accountable to me? Does my attitude say you owe me? Am I waiting for reparation?

My forgiveness for others will never be as free and full as what I receive from my Father, but I can make my heart right by releasing my offenders from their debt, like I’ve been released from mine. And then I make forgiveness choices—to not rehearse the offense, to not repay the evil, to bless the offender, to live at peace, to refuse to take the offense that’s been given.

How does this apply to the situations we’ve been praying according to the Lord’s prayer?

Lord, my loved one may not be asking, but I’m asking, please forgive his (or her) sins. Bring him to the place where he will marvel over the magnitude of your forgiving grace. Cut away roots of bitterness that want to take hold. I release from debt, those who have hurt him, who have hurt me. Bring a miracle of healing that only forgiveness can release.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ellen
    Jul 18, 2018 @ 18:43:31

    Beautiful reminder. Forgive. And how often? 70 x70? Every time it tries to rear its ugly head. Oh the joy when we see the forgiveness take hold and realize the bitterness is gone. Supernaturally. Thanks, Barbara



    • Barbara
      Jul 19, 2018 @ 11:29:51

      I remember being told, if your brother offends you 70 times, you need to forgive him each time, but I’ve come to realize the offense can be one time, but my heart holds on to it and I have to forgive that one offense over and over – 70 times, or endlessly. You’re right, to be free of that bitterness brings amazing joy.



  2. katiesweeting
    Jul 20, 2018 @ 14:13:38

    Ah, forgiving those closest to us is the hardest for me. When I need to forgive my son for a wrong he committed against me… that is painfully difficult. God has been reminding me that forgiveness and love are not choices. We are commanded to forgive and love. It does get easier when I remember all my own sins God has forgiven. Thank you for this powerful devotion.



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