Forgive Us Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors

We’ve been studying the Lord’s Prayer The passage of Scripture that even people who don’t know Jesus have heard It’s familiar because it’s been used in movies, TV shows, funerals but familiar words don’t always lead to correct actions and beliefs. You know that because you’ve seen it. People say their wedding vows with a lot of emotion and then break those vows. Your money reads “In God We Trust”and then people don’t trust God with their money. People swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and then follow that with lies. Our purpose in learning the Lord’s Prayer is not just to know the words but to live them out and to let them guide our prayer time. So I’m going to throw it on the screen and let’s say it together. “Our Father which art in heaven hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Now a quick review just in case you missed a week “Our Father which art in heaven hallowed be thy name.” Begin your prayer time by thanking God for who he is, for what he’s done and for his blessings “Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Pray for God’s will to be done in your life, in your family’s life and in our church. Pray God will help you hear his voice and know his will and that you’ll be obedient his plan. “Give us this day our daily bread.” This is where you pray for the needs of others. if you don’t keep a list, pray as things come to your mind then pray for your needs. Pray that God will give you strength and mercy and grace that you need for today. And now we reach the most challenging part of the prayer. Easy to pray difficult to live “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” First John 1:9 says “If we confess our sins he is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God doesn’t punish you or hold past sins against you. There are often consequences of sin, that’s true. You can’t erase that, but when you pray and confess God completely and totally forgives. God’s forgiveness is tied to your confession, admitting you’ve sinned. That’s why this part of the Lord’s Prayer is so important. When you reach this place confess sin and pray for forgiveness. Ask God to forgive you for actions that weren’t pleasing to him. You say, well what if I don’t remember everything I’ve done. Well if you’re praying this every day you remember You’re aware of ongoing sin in your life, ask God to forgive you. Ask God to forgive you for words that aren’t pleasing to him. So what kind of words aren’t pleasing to God? Ask him to forgive you for words that were untrue lies. We have categories of lies. We have little lies. We have white lies. We have lies that don’t really hurt someone. Lies intended to save someone else’s feelings The Bible only has one category lies that our sin. Ask God to forgive you for words that weren’t a hundred percent accurate. I not only want to tell the truth I want to make sure my words lead people to believe truth. I don’t want to be misleading or deceptive. I don’t want to shade the truth. I want to tell the truth. If your words that aren’t quite a lie cause someone to believe a lie, you lied Maybe you’ve used a few of these. Well I’m on my way. You started walking the moment they asked where are you. Come on. You get mad if your kids do that but you do it. You boss asks how’s it going and you answer well I’m not quite finished with that project yet. Meaning you haven’t started. Or you say well I was about to send that I’ll be at my computer in 20 minutes. Meaning I’m would do as fast as I can Well I didn’t say that Meaning I didn’t say exactly those words you’ve missed a word. Technical truths it’s when you call upstairs and say are you cleaning your room. There’s no answer then you say are you cleaning your room After about 40 seconds your kid says, yes Well, we know what they’re doing they’re

playing video games and they had to finish that game before they started doing what they were supposed to be doing for you asked what they were doing. Ask God to forgive you for words that were hurtful to others. They may even have been true but they weren’t necessary. I call them loose words. I don’t want loose words to come out of my mouth. The Bible is very clear words can be sin. Ask God to forgive you for taking the Lord’s name in vain, for cursing, using the name of God. That’s pretty clear on of the 10 Commandments. Ask God to forgive you for gossiping, sharing bad reports or talking negatively and critically about others See we have a tendency to excuse gossip if it’s true or because we say something like well that’s just my personality or I live in the south that’s what we do. We have excused gossip in the church for far too long. Gossip hurts the heart of God and causes damage in his chruch There is not an acceptable excuse. Gossip is sin for which you need to repent and ask God’s forgiveness It is not oversimplification to say if the church should get this right we would make great strides towards reaching our country. Ask God to forgive you for words that don’t represent Jesus well. I’m very careful not to criticize other churches or pastors. I don’t represent Jesus well if I’m criticizing his people. I want my words to accurately reflect the love and grace of Jesus. And you can look at that list and say Rod that’s a high standard. I’ll be praying for forgiveness in my words every day, that’s a good thing. As you pray for forgiveness then you become more aware of what comes out of your mouth. You say well if I can’t say that stuff I won’t say anything. [clapping and audience laughing] Yeah, we’ll all be better off. As you pray I’ve got to forgive you for actions for words and for attitudes that didn’t please him. Your attitude can invalidate your testimony. Ask God to forgive you if your attitude was bad towards your parents, towards your children, your boss, your co-workers, your spouse,your spiritual authority. Ask God to forgive you if your attitude is bad towards people who are different than you. Ask God to forgive you for a negative attitude, a critical attitude, for being argumentative or demanding, any attitude that isn’t pleasing to him. You say well how do I know what attitudes don’t please God. Well the Bible tells you and then as you pray and ask for forgiveness God will bring things to your mind. As you ask forgiveness for your attitudes, it will make you more aware when your attitudes don’t please him. Ask God to forgive you for actions, words, attitudes and disobedience. If you’ve disobeyed God’s written word, if you disobey his commands or if God prompted you to do or say something that you didn’t do, ask for forgiveness. So that’s the first part of the verse, “Forgive us our debts.” The second part of the verse is where it gets challenging, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” We hear the word debts and we think credit cards or car payments. Some translation uses the word trespasses. I think a good word is sin or offense. Forgive us our sins and offenses as we forgive the sins and offenses of others. In ordinary talk,Jesus taught the disciples and us to pray this way. Lord please forgive me the same way I forgive others and help me forgive others the way I want to be forgiven. So the way I’m forgiving Rod, Lord forgive me that way The way I’m forgiving Becca forgive me that way. The way I’m forgiving Parker Lord forgive me that same way. You say whoa wait a second that’s not what I want to pray because if God forgives me the way I’m forgiving Becca or the way I’m forgiving you then God won’t forgive me. Actually that’s correct The only part of the prayer that Jesus explained after it is this part. Look what he said in the two verses immediately following the Lord’s Prayer “For if you forgive men when they sin against you. your heavenly Father will

also forgive you.” Now look at verse 15 I think one of the most challenging verses in the Bible. “If you do not forgive men their sins, your father will not forgive your sins.” Recent study by the Barna group revealed that almost 1 in 4 practicing Christians, that’s 23 percent, have someone in their life they just can’t forgive, 1 in 4. The problem is God doesn’t give you that option. This is really important, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,” is full of meaning. We pray that way because we want to be forgiven but it’s a powerful reminder God will forgive me the same way or in the same manner that I forgive you. With the measure I give it will be given to me Statistically even Christians see forgiveness as something they do in stages. First to family then to friends then maybe to enemies. Only 36% of practicing Christians feel their enemies are most deserving of mercy. Only 13% agree with this statement. I’m inclined to feel high compassion for someone who’s wronged me. 13%. Obviously we need to spend more time praying forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. I want God to forgive me fully quickly and immediately the moment I pray. If that’s the way I want God to forgive me then that’s how I have to forgive you. It’s how I have to forgive everyone. You can’t limit your forgiveness based on who someone is or isn’t. Well it’s just a stranger in traffic and they can’t drive to save their lives I don’t have to forgive them. I It’s just a student. It’s just an immigrant they don’t even speak my language how could they care. It’s just an old person. That’s just my mom. It’s just my dad. It’s just a Democrat. It’s just a Republican. It’s just someone from my past why does that matter now. If you don’t want God to draw lines around his forgiveness of your sins then don’t draw lines around your forgiveness of others sins. Everyone must qualify for your forgiveness. Freely forgive and freely be forgiven. Ask God to help you forgive others the way you want to be forgiven It’s a really high standard isn’t it This is tough. This part of the prayer is a daily focus for me. I want to be rich in forgiveness. I want to be known for forgiving others and I want to keep growing in this area So here’s how I pray when I get here Lord help my first response to an offense to be forgiveness. Rather than be angry, offended or defensive help me see each moment as an opportunity to forgive others the way you’ve forgiven me. Help me not to react but instead to quickly and completely forgive the moment of the offense. How would that change your life? Can you imagine never being offended but instead regularly practicing forgiveness? What would it be like if you could quickly forgive someone for their loose words or their sinful actions instead of letting it make you angry or holding it in your spirit? What would it be like if you can forgive instead of getting your feelings hurt when you’re overlooked or don’t get your way? I’ve seen people who’ve attended church for years leave is the result of one offense. They throw away years of relationship instead of choosing to forgive. I watched church people, God’s people, get mad and leave because someone parked in their parking space, which by the way doesn’t have your name on it. Someone didn’t shake their hand or greet them I didn’t preach on the subject they wanted. They were asked to take their crying baby out of the sanctuary. We changed the coffee I’ve seen Church people get mad because members don’t get special seating. I got a lot I want to say right there or get mad because their connection class

changed rooms. The lights weren’t right The music was too loud. I put my Christmas tree up too early.[audience laughing] I’ve had church people get mad because they locked me out of the air conditioning controls. Which is fascinating, which means you have the belief that everyone in our church want the temperature the exact same as you. People don’t dress fancy enough. Pastor Rod is wearing sneakers That’s true, I started wearing them about a month ago because preaching four times a weekend it helps my back feel better when I’m wearing sneakers. So I’m hoping that somehow the word of the Lord can still be delivered if I’ve got sneakers on my feet.[audience laughing] Hey when I go to camp with the students I preach barefoot. God still does good things .If I did that you’d be freaking out. I’ve watched people, followers of Jesus, who posts their offense on Facebook before they consider forgiveness. Don’t do that live by higher standard. Forgive others as you want God to forgive you. Instead of looking for offenses look for opportunities to forgive. As I prayed this way, I’ve noticed several things. Now these may not be consistent with your experience but I hope what I am learning will help you in your journey. Here’s a few things I’ve learned. This is surprising to me This one is unexpected but not everyone is happy when you quickly forgive Quick forgiveness is so counterculture that it makes some people angry. A couple years ago, I received the most vicious email I’ve ever been sent. They attacked me. They attacked Cindy. They attacked my character, you name it. I read the email and my first instinct I wanted to argue. I wanted to point out where all their facts were inaccurate. I wanted to address their wrongs. I wanted to correct them for their attitude and their hurtful spirit. But in light of my daily prayer help me forgive others the way I want you to forgive me I consider the email for a while. Then I responded with a thank you. Thanks for sharing your reflections. I receive it in the spirit with which it was given [audience laughing] and then I added a few words of blessing that made them even more mad. When I bless them for saying that their next email was epic. People want to fight. I want to forgive. It’s not that I don’t have an opinion. I just don’t think it matters Choose forgiveness over fighting but understand not everyone’s gonna like it Some people will question your motives question your sincerity, forgive anyway On another occasion I quickly forgave and the problem came when someone else saw my forgiveness and they didn’t think I should forgive. And they didn’t understand why I would forgive that quickly. They didn’t want me to communicate, love and kindness. They wanted me to pronounce judgment. They were angry because I was too forgiving You know, I decided if I would be accused of something that’s what I want to be accused of. Even though everyone may not understand, forgive. Forgive others the way you want God to forgive you. Each time I pray through the Lord’s Prayer, I pray and I forgive people. I call them by name. Some things clear from my spirit quickly. Other times forgiveness is a process Rather than a hold on to that offense, I called their name every morning. Lord, I forgive Rod. I choose to forgive him. I will treat him and act towards him with love and forgiveness. Help me forgive today As you pray to forgive here’s what will happen.God will bring to mind things that need forgiveness applied. God has reminded me of past hurts, words that were said, things that we’re done Sometimes I find myself praying to forgive people for things that happened years ago. Things I’ve held my spirit way too long. As God brings them to mind, I pray and I release them from my anger. I call them by name. God, I forgive Jackson Forgive me, Lord, for my unforgiveness Regardless of what they said or did I don’t want unforgiveness in my heart because when you hold it in your heart it comes out in ugliness. You say Pastor

Rod if God does that if he brings in mind everyone I need to forgive I’ll never make it to work, good. Allowing God to lead you through that process is life-changing. As you pray too quickly and completely forgive, God will give you opportunities to put that prayer into action One morning, it’s been a long time ago, as I was praying God to help me forgive others the way I want you to forgive me The email alert sounded on my phone in the middle of that prayer of forgiveness No I didn’t stop to check my email because I don’t want send that priority message to God. But when I finished, I opened the email. It was an apology from someone who’d made anonymous threats against me and my family that caused a lot of anxiety and uneasiness. He confessed that he was the source of the threats and asked for my forgiveness. Let me tell you, that’s challenging. Standing up to speak knowing someone’s vowed to hurt me is an interesting experience. I learned trust and to rely on God’s peace. The human side of me also tends to notice every time the door opens. So do me a favor stop that. Don’t leave unless you have to, anyway. This guy made threats against me and my family. Now I’ve learned to deal with it. When it’s me that’s part of the deal. It’s a little more hard to process when it’s my family We had a family meeting. We walked through what to do if he followed through. We increased security at the church. The police department stepped up patrols in our neighborhood and now he was apologizing after all that. My first reaction was anger. I wanted to fire off a pretty tough response and then God whispered in my spirit what did you just pray. How do you want me to forgive you? And I sent an email of forgiveness. I thanked him for his confession and expressed my forgiveness. Was that easy, no. Was it right, absolutely it was right How important is this? Jesus said in Mark chapter 11 “When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone,” which seems to cover about everything, right. “If you hold anything against anyone forgive him so your Father in heaven may forgive you of your sins.” In other words interrupt your prayers and forgive. Make forgiveness and absolute top priority Understand unforgiveness doesn’t hurt the other person it hurts you. You’re truly free when you forgive. And as you learn to forgive and be free, God will give you opportunity to minister to others who are held captive by resentment and unforgiveness. You can point them to the same freedom you found If you’ve confessed your sin, if you’ve committed your life to Jesus, you know what it means to be forgiven. You’ve experienced the peace and the joy and the freedom that comes from being fully and completely forgiven. [music playing] Jesus taught us to pray forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. In your daily quiet time as you pray for forgiveness choose to forgive anyone who’s hurt, offended you. Forgive them so you can be forgiven by God and remember the way you forgive them is the way God will forgive you. Give it a try Start praying that God will help you fully, quickly and completely forgive the moment an offense occurs. Instead of getting mad or offended, forgive. Instead of making an angry phone call or firing off an angry email, forgive.Instead of posting your criticism, anger or frustration on your facebook status or angrily reacting to someone else’s status, forgive. Instead of telling everyone you know how bad that person is, forgive. Forgive before someone even asks or if they never asked be known for your forgiving heart and best of all receive that same kind of forgiveness from God How different would your life be if you walked in forgiveness every day. If you reacted to every possible offense with

quick forgiveness. What would it be like if you looked for opportunities to forgive instead of opportunities to be offended. God predetermined his response to your sin it would be forgiveness Could you make that same decision in advance of the offense. Could you actually choose to forgive before someone hurt you, is that possible. Here’s my question, how would your life be different if every time someone hurt your feelings, every time you didn’t get what you wanted, every time someone made a decision you didn’t like, if every time your response was forgiveness. What kind of witness would that be to your friends, to your family, to your co-workers if an entire church family decided to live that way. We’d be focused on our mission instead of distracted by an offense. We did that we would change the world. Would you bow your heads with me? I want to pray for you today. I want to pray for you If there is someone in your life you’re struggling to forgive. I mean it could be a big thing, could be from years ago or it could be a really current thing Someone said something that shouldn’t have said or didn’t say something they should have said. [music playing] They did something and you’re nursing that hurt. You’re replaying the hurt and getting angry every time you think about it, every time you talk about it instead of forgiving. Lord would you help us. Because we see in your word, that this isn’t an option that we’ve got to do this we’ve got a process through this Because we Lord we’ve done a lot that we need to be forgiven for by you. And we recognize we can’t escape the truth. That the way we forgive others is the way you will forgive us. So I pray Lord that in the next few minutes as we pray together that some people in this room, some people watching online will have a breakthrough of forgiveness and they will bring an offense or a hurt to you. [music playing] They’ll give that to you and they’ll forgive that person and they’ll experience the freedom that comes of forgiving so we can be forgiven. In Jesus name