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Amplified: Give us this day our daily bread. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: Give us this day our daily bread.
NLT: Give us our food for today (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips: Give us this day the bread we need (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: Our bread, that for the coming day, give us today. (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: 'Our appointed bread give us to-day.
J C Ryle explains that "We are here taught to acknowledge our entire dependence on God for the supply of our daily necessities. As Israel required daily manna ("Then the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day's portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction." Ex 16:4), so we require daily “bread.” We confess that we are poor, weak creatures in need (cf "poor in spirit" Matthew 5:3), and beseech our Maker to take care of us. We ask for “bread” as the simplest of our wants, and in that word we include all that our bodies require.
C H Spurgeon's comments...
Give Us - Not "give me"! Intercede for your brethren as well as yourself.
Daily (1967) (epiousios) is an interesting, somewhat difficult to explain Greek word because it does not have an etymology upon which all expositors agree. The Greek word is epiousios (some feel it derives from epí = for or into + ousía = being, substance) appears to have been coined by the gospel writers. It pertains to recurring on a daily basis and in the NT is used only here and in Luke 11:3, the parallel prayer. It is descriptive of a daily and needed portion of food, that which suffices for each day or for the coming day.
Vine feels that epiousios is derived from epi + eimi = to go and thus means "(bread) for going on, i.e., for the morrow and after, or (bread) coming (for us). This suits the added sēmeron, “today,” i.e., the prayer is to be for bread that suffices for this day and next, so that the mind may conform to Christ’s warning against anxiety for the morrow."
The NET Bible note says "Give us bread today for the coming day," or "Give us today the bread we need for today."
Bread (740) (artos) refers to bread.
Wuest translates this passage - Our bread, that for the coming day, give us today.
This translation may sound redundant, but it is a precious and urgent petition by those who live from hand to mouth.
EBC adds that this is a petition "for one day at a time ("today"), reflecting the precarious lifestyle of many first-century workers who were paid one day at a time and for whom a few days' illness could spell tragedy. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)
Even though God knows our needs before we ask, this prayer acknowledges our dependence on His for daily provisions, spiritual and physical. Note that is a prayer for our needs not our greeds.
D. L. Moody knew the secret of spiritual "daily bread" writing "A man can no more take a supply of grace for the future than he can eat enough today to last him for the next 6 months, nor can he inhale sufficient air into his lungs with one breath to sustain life for a week to come. We are permitted to draw upon God’s store of grace from day to day as we need it!
God never gives His strength in advance, so let’s stop crossing bridges before we come to them. The Heavenly Father will graciously supply our every need—one day at a time! Don’t try to bear tomorrow’s burdens with today’s grace.
Prayer should be more than a wish list so if we pray as Jesus taught us, we'll do much more than say, "Our Father, give us."
Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray;
Ray Stedman in his sermon on Luke 11:3-4 When Prayer Becomes Personal has some wonderful thoughts on this topical sentence...
F B Meyer has the following devotional on GOD'S PROVISION -
"Give us this day our daily bread."--Matt. 6:11.
IF YOU want daily bread, and would pray for it aright, you must ask as a child; and you must put first, before your own satisfaction, the Hallowing of God's Name, and the doing of His Will. Implicitly you suggest that if He gives you bread, you will use the strength it gives for His service.
Let us ever think of God as the bountiful and generous Giver. Too often He has been described as hard and austere, and as a result, men dread God, and only think of Him when they have done wrong. But we should describe Him as the All-Giver, who gives all things to all with the most royal generosity. He gives sunbeams and dewdrops, showers and rainbows, grace and glory, His beloved Son and His Spirit, human love and friendship, the daily spreading of our table, the provision of all that we need for life and godliness. Whether we wake or sleep, whether we are evil or good, whether we are pleasing to Him or not; to those who forget and blaspheme Him equally as to the saints and martyrs of the Church, God gives with both hands, pressed down and running over. We cannot buy, we do not merit, we cannot claim, but we may rely on Him to give. God is Love; and Love cannot refrain from giving, or it ceases to be Love.
Yet how low God stoops! He is so great, that His greatness is unsearchable. He dwells in the high and lofty place. His sun is ninety-seven millions of miles away from our earth; He has filled the heavens with countless constellations, for each of which He has a name. He puts the Himalaya into a scale, and the islands are as dust in His balances; but Jesus has taught us to say, "Our Father, give us bread!" When we get troubled about the immensity of heaven and the distances of the universe, let us come back to the discourse, of which this prayer is part, and which tells us that the great God thinks about the clothing of the lilies, the down on a butterfly's wings, the food of the young lions in the forest, the store of acorns that squirrels accumulate for their provision. It is wonderful to remember that from the first days of man's sojourn on earth, our Father has been laying up stores for us. Though we may be among the youngest children of Time, we come to a table as richly plenished and provided as those who first tasted of His bounty. "Fear not, it is your Father's good pleasure to give."
PRAYER - Heavenly Father, let me not be anxious about to-morrow's provision or path, but trust Thee to provide and lead for to-day. Open Thine hand, and satisfy the desire of every living thing. AMEN. (F. B. Meyer. Our Daily Walk)
Amplified: And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, and let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
KJV: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
NLT: and forgive us our sins, just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Philips Forgive us what we owe to you, as we have also forgiven those who owe anything to us. (New Testament in Modern English)
Wuest: And forgive us the moral obligations we owe, even as also, as for us, we have forgiven those morally obligated to us. (Wuest: Expanded Translation: Eerdmans)
Young's Literal: 'And forgive us our debts, as also we forgive our debtors.
AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS: kai aphes (2SAAM) hemin ta opheilemata hemon (see related discussion under topic of "blessed are the merciful" Matthew 5:7) (See discussion of Jesus' continuation of this topic in Matthew 6:14) (Exodus 34:7; 1Kings 8:30,34,39,50; Psalms 32:1; 130:4; Isaiah 1:18; Daniel 9:19; Acts 13:38; Ephesians 1:7; 1John 1:7, 8, 9) (Mt 18:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27,34; Luke 7:40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48; 11:4)
Give us, this day, our daily bread;
And (2532) (kai) is used to connect each of the last three petitions, whereas the first three are "independent". Why connect the last three? This connection speaks of all three as absolutely necessary, food for the body, forgiveness for the soul and deliverance from temptation for the spirit.
Spurgeon has a rebuttal for the one who says "I have no need to pray this sentence for I have no trespasses"...
J C Ryle explains that in this index sentence "We confess that we are sinners, and need daily grants of pardon and forgiveness. This part of the Lord’s Prayer deserves especially to be remembered. It condemns all self-righteousness and self-justifying. We are instructed here to keep up a continual habit of confession at the throne of grace, and a continual habit of seeking mercy and remission. Let this never be forgotten. We need daily to wash our feet (John 13:10)... Its object is to remind us that we must not expect our prayers for forgiveness to be heard if we pray with malice and spite in our hearts towards others. To pray in such a frame of mind is mere formality and hypocrisy. It is even worse than hypocrisy: it is as much as saying, “Do not forgive me at all.” Our prayers are nothing without love. We must not expect to be forgiven if we cannot forgive.
Why would Jesus mention forgiveness so far down the "list" of this model prayer? What is the emphasis in the first three topical sentences? God the Father - worship, longing for His Kingdom, desiring His will, seeking His provision for our life needs.
Here is the point - When we see the greatness and goodness of our Father Who art in heaven, how can we mere mortals choose to withhold from others the same forgiveness we have received at the time of our salvation and each and every moment of every day for the rest of our life? We must have His forgiveness, for we have wounded the heart of our Father by our sins (cp Ezek 6:9-note "I have been hurt"!), including our sins of unforgiveness, a sin which God cannot overlook for He is holy. Therefore for our prayer to be effective we must dealt with our sin.
Proverbs warns us "He who conceals (intentionally, willfully hides or covers over sins so as to keep secret) his transgressions will not prosper (accomplish satisfactorily what is intended = generally expresses idea of a successful venture, as contrasted with failure), BUT (note the marked contrast) he who confesses (acknowledges to God) and forsakes (not just confesses but depart, leave and walk away from the sin! - equates with repentance. Enabled by the Spirit and grace, we must make a conscious choice to "walk away" from unforgiveness!) them will find compassion (mercy, pity). (Proverbs 28:13-note)
C H Spurgeon comments...
Forgive (863) (aphiemi [word study] from apo = implies a separation + hiemi = put in motion, send; for additional discussion see notes on study of the noun aphesis) means to send from one's self, to forsake, to hurl away, to put away, let alone, disregard, put off. It conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation. It refers to total detachment or total separation, from a previous location or condition. In secular Greek it initially conveyed the sense of to throw and in one secular writing we read "let the pot drop" (aphiemi). From this early literal use the word came to mean leave or let go.
It is interesting that "forgive" is in the aorist imperative calling for this action to be carried out effectively and even with a sense of urgency. While it is a command to forgive, it is "activated" if you will only as we are willing to forgive those who have sinned against us. And this is turn is possible only as the Spirit energizes us giving us the desire to forgive and the power to forgive (Php 2:13NLT).
Aphiemi - 143x in 131v - Matt 3:15; 4:11, 20, 22; 5:24, 40; 6:12, 14f; 7:4; 8:15, 22; 9:2, 5f; 12:31f; 13:30, 36; 15:14; 18:12, 21, 27, 32, 35; 19:14, 27, 29; 22:22, 25; 23:13, 23, 38; 24:2, 40f; 26:44, 56; 27:49f; Mark 1:18, 20, 31, 34; 2:5, 7, 9f; 3:28; 4:12, 36; 5:19, 37; 7:8, 12, 27; 8:13; 10:14, 28f; 11:6, 16, 25; 12:12, 19f, 22; 13:2, 34; 14:6, 50; 15:36f; Luke 4:39; 5:11, 20f, 23f; 6:42; 7:47ff; 8:51; 9:60; 10:30; 11:4; 12:10, 39; 13:8, 35; 17:3f, 34f; 18:16, 28f; 19:44; 21:6; 23:34; John 4:3, 28, 52; 8:29; 10:12; 11:44, 48; 12:7; 14:18, 27; 16:28, 32; 18:8; 20:23; Acts 5:38; 8:22; 14:17; Rom 1:27; 4:7; 1 Cor 7:11ff; Heb 2:8; 6:1; Jas 5:15; 1 John 1:9; 2:12; Rev 2:4, 20; 11:9. The NAS renders aphiemi as abandoned(1), allow(5), allowed(2), alone(6), forgave(2), forgive(23), forgiven(23),forgives(1), gave permission(1), leave(7), leaves(2), leaving(8), left(38), let(9), let alone(6), let have(1),neglected(1), neglecting(2), permit(6), permitted(1), permitting(1), send away(3), tolerate(1), uttered(1), yielded(1).
Aphiemi - 76x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint - Ge 4:13; 18:26; 20:6; 35:18; 42:33; 45:2; 50:17; Ex 9:21; 12:23; 22:5; 32:32; Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7; 16:10; 19:22; Nu 14:19; 15:25f; 22:13; Dt 15:2; 26:10; Josh 10:19; Jdg 1:34; 2:21, 23; 3:1, 28; 16:26; Ru 2:16; 2Sa 15:16; 16:10f; 20:3; 1Ki 19:3; 2Ki 4:27; 23:18; 1Chr 16:21; 2Chr 10:4, 10; 28:14; Ezra 6:7; Job 39:5, 14; 42:10; Ps 17:14; 25:18; 32:1, 5; 85:2; 105:14, 20; 125:3; Pr 4:13; 24:31; Eccl 2:18; 5:12; 10:4; 11:6; Song 3:4; Isa 22:4, 14; 32:14; 33:24; 55:7; Jer 12:7; Ezek 16:39; Da 4:15, 26
Aphiemi means to send forth or away from one's self. It refers to the act of putting something away or of laying it aside and as used here means to let go of the obligation another person has "owes" you because of sin. It means to remit (to release from the guilt or penalty of) as one would a financial debt (e.g., on the Rosetta stone it refers to the "total remission" of certain taxes). In the present context Jesus is referring to an ethical or moral debt due to some offense by another person against us. In that sense they "owe" us. It follows that the basic meaning of forgiveness is to put away an offense. Unfortunately the English word "forgive" does not adequately picture the meaning of the Greek.
In secular Greek literature, aphiemi was a fundamental word used to indicate the sending away of an object or a person. Aphiemi was used to describe the voluntary release of a person or thing over which one has legal or actual control. The related noun aphesis meant described a setting free. .Later it came to include the release of someone from the obligation of marriage, or debt, or even a religious vow. In its final form it came to embrace the principle of release from punishment for some wrongdoing. .
Colin Brown adds that aphiemi means "With a personal object, to send forth, send away (of a woman, to divorce; of a meeting, to dissolve, end), to let go, to leave, dispatch; with an impersonal object, to loose (e.g. a ship into the sea), to discharge (e.g. arrows), to give up. In the figurative sense the verb (aphiemi) means to let alone, permit, let pass, neglect, give up (taking trouble, etc.); in Josephus, Ant., 1, 12, 3, to lose one’s life, die. The legal use is important: to release from a legal bond (office, guilt, etc. and also, a woman from marriage, e.g. Hdt., 5, 39), to acquit (e.g. cancellation of criminal proceedings, Plato, Laws, 9, 86, 9d), to exempt (from guilt, obligation, punishment, etc.; e.g. Hdt., 6, 30). Similarly the noun aphesis (e.g. Demosthenes, 24, 45) means release, pardon, or remission, etc (Brown, Colin: New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
Aphiemi was also used of teachers, writers, and speakers when presenting a topic, in the sense of “to leave, let alone, disregard, not to discuss now". It means “to abandon, to leave as behind and done with in order to go on to another thing.”
The Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, contained many of these ideas. In the Old Testament aphiemi spoke of releasing a prisoner or remitting a debt, but it also came to mean pardon or forgiveness.
Trench says that the image underlying aphiemi is that of releasing a prisoner (Isaiah 61:1), or letting go, as of a debt (Dt 15:3). One is reminded of the one goat who was offered as a sin-offering on the Day of Atonement (Lv 16:20), and of the other goat upon which was placed the sins of the people (symbolically) and which was let go in the wilderness, never to be seen again by Israel, the latter goat typifying that aspect of redemption in which the sins of the human race were put away, never to be charged against the individual again (Lv 16:20).
Wuest explains aphiemi from God's perspective noting that "It refers to the act of putting something away. God did that at the Cross when He put sin away by incarnating Himself in humanity in the Person of His Son, stepping down from His judgment throne, assuming the guilt of man’s sin, and paying the penalty, thus, satisfying His justice, and making possible an offer of mercy on the basis of justice satisfied. When a sinner avails himself of the merits of that atoning sacrifice, he thus puts himself within the provision God made. His sins were put away at the Cross, and he comes into the benefit of that when he believes. (Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Studies in the Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament) (Bolding added)
Richards notes that aphiemi "is a verb that occurs 146 times in the NT. It has the sense of "forgive" 49 of these times, 44 of which occur in the Gospels; but it has this meaning only once in Paul's writings (Ro 4:7). It is used in the sense of forgiveness of sins, of debts, and of crimes. The majority of the occurrences of aphiemi convey a meaning other than forgiveness: i.e., dismiss, release, leave, or abandon. (Richards, Larry:. Expository Dictionary of Bible Words. 1985. Zondervan)
The aorist imperative is a command which calls for this to be carried out with effectively and even with a sense of urgency.
Our English word “forgive” does not, as commonly used, give an adequate picture of the Greek word. We say that we have forgiven some one who has wronged us. By that we usually mean that any feeling of animosity we may have had, has changed to one of renewed friendliness and affection. We do not hold the wrong done us against the person anymore. But so far as the act itself is concerned, we cannot do anything about it. It has been done, and it cannot be removed from the one who committed the wrong.
When missionaries in northern Alaska were translating the Bible into the language of the Eskimos, they discovered there was no word in that language for forgiveness. After much patient listening, however, they discovered a word that means, “not being able to think about it anymore.” That word was used throughout the translation to represent forgiveness, because God’s promise to repentant sinners is, “I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more” (Jer. 31:34).
Henry Law writes that forgiveness "is remission of due penalties, the obliteration of incurred guilt, the withdrawal of just displeasure, the blotting out of accusing handwriting, the burying all offences in oblivion, the hushing of the loud thunder of the law, the canceling of its tremendous curse, the consigning to a sheath the sword of justice. It is the frown of Jehovah softening into eternal smiles. It encounters sin, and strips it of its destroying power. (FORGIVENESS OF SINS - 17 Chapter Treatise on this subject!)
Debts (3783) (opheilema from opheílo = to owe - see study of related opheiletes) is that which is owed or obligations we have incurred; including sins of omission and commission. Sins are moral and spiritual debts to God that must be paid. In his account of this prayer, Luke uses hamartia (“sins”; Luke 11:4), clearly indicating that the reference is to sin, not to a financial debt. Matthew probably used debts because it corresponded to the most common Aramaic term (hoba) for sin used by Jews of that day, which also represented moral or spiritual debt to God.
In this petition disciples ask God's forgiveness for their failure to live according to His will. John writes...
Pastor Ray Pritchard writes that...
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AS WE ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN OUR DEBTORS: h os kai hemeis aphekamen (1PAAI) tois opheiletais hemon (Mt 6:14, 15; 18:21,22,28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35; Nehemiah 5:12,13; Mk 11:25,26; Lk 6:37; 17:3, 4, 5; Ep 4:32-note; Col 3:13)
THE CRITICAL LITTLE
As (hos) is the key word in this verse, which marks a comparison (see terms of comparison) between the way we forgive and the way God forgives us. In a sense, we set the "standard" and God follows the standard in the way He deals with us in the issue of forgiveness.
What we are praying in Mt 6:12 in essence is something like this...
MacArthur writes “Blessed are the merciful,” our Lord said, “for they shall receive mercy” (Mt. 5:7-note). If we want to enjoy the benefits of God’s forgiveness toward us, we must be willing to forgive other believers, even those who repeatedly sin against us. Or we can express this final principle more directly, which is that God does not forgive those who do not forgive others (Mt. 6:15-note). That does not mean that an unforgiving attitude nullifies a believer’s salvation. In the eternal scope of things, God forgives all the sins of those who are in Jesus Christ. But an attitude that refuses to forgive fellow believers will rob a Christian of his joy, peace, fellowship, and usefulness in the church. (MacArthur, J. The Pillars of Christian Character: The Basic Essentials of a Living Faith. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books)
So if we are angry with a friend for failure to thank us for help we provided, we are asking God to deal with us as we are dealing with our neighbor. Unless we forgive we will not be forgiven. To refuse to forgive someone and then ask God for forgiveness is to ask God to give us what we are unwilling to give to someone else. You cannot have it both ways.
Do you want to experience God's forgiveness?
The channel of God's grace is blocked from the human side. We are saying in essence we would rather harbor bitterness and grudges than experience the daily blessing of the joy of the Lord (Neh 8:10). Lack of divine forgiveness in this verse is to be distinguished from the complete and eternal forgiveness of our "debts" which transpired when our sins were placed on Christ's account the moment we by grace through faith received Him as Lord and Savior. That transaction (justification = one time event, "past tense" salvation) is forever immortalized and does not need to be repeated. But once we are justified by faith, we enter into what I call "present tense" salvation (progressive sanctification) in which we are growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Pe 3:18, "being saved" in 1Co 1:18). This aspect of salvation constitutes this present earthly life and is the phase to which Jesus is speaking in Mt 6:12. If we fail to forgive others the debt they owe us, our inner peace is disrupted and our conscience is disturbed. God wants us to forgive the debt that we might experience His peace that passes all human comprehension. So the primary effect of our failure to forgive is loss of intimacy, communion or fellowship with our Father. Pastor Ray Pritchard summarizes the consequences of an unforgiving spirit (and this list is far from complete)...
Harry Ironside observes that...
John Stott explains this petition writing that...
J R Miller (Biography) wrote...
There are petitions for the believer to ask from God, but there are also conditions for the answers to be received. Jesus is not implying that we must earn God's forgiveness for we could never merit it. Our forgiveness to others is simply based on the fact that we ourselves have been forgiven so great a debt by God Himself. If He can forgive us, can we not as His children forgive those who have offended us, their offenses against us not even comparing to the enormity of our offenses against God! Our unwillingness to forgive others proves that we have a grossly exaggerated view of their offenses against us and that we have chosen to minimize our offenses against God.
If we fail to forgive, but instead "treasure up" the debts of others, we make ourselves vulnerable to the soul sapping condition of bitterness.
CANCER OF THE SOUL
Bitterness is the most dangerous of all plagues to healthy Christian living. It will eat away at the vitality of your spiritual life until your once-vibrant testimony is in shambles. Bitterness is the “cancer of the soul”, and much like literal cancer, bitterness claims millions of victims each year. It spreads faster than the common cold and threatens the survival of many churches (cf He 12:15-note). Yet there is a cure for this soul crippling plague and it is found in the medicine called forgiveness, one of the most beautiful words in any language. Even the word forgive conveys the essence of act in the last four letter “give”. To "for give" means to give someone a release from the wrong that he or she has done to you. To cancel the debt. To release them from the charges. To give up any right of retaliation. Heaven future will be a place of infinite, eternal forgiveness, which is why Kingdom citizens are charged by Jesus to begin their other worldly life now by forgiving like their Father forgives them (Eph 4:32-note, Col 3:13-note, Mt 6:14, 15-note).
Note that Mt 6:12 is not the prayer of an unregenerate sinner but the supplication of a saint who has sinned. In Mt 6:12 the forgiveness that we are asking for is not related to salvation, for all of our sins were paid in full by our Lord at Calvary (Jn 19:30 "It is finished" = tetelestai in Greek = "Paid in full" = "Cancelled the Debt"). That forgiveness is reflects God's "judicial" forgiveness and is what the unregenerate sinner prays in Luke 18:13. In Matthew 6:12 the plea is that of a child of God who has grieved his heavenly Father by some wrong attitude, thought, word, or deed and needs parental forgiveness. In other words, the forgiveness that we are to ask for as saints who still commit sins is "parental" or "family" forgiveness. The point is that family forgiveness relates to fellowship, and we cannot walk in fellowship with our Father if we refuse to forgive others.
Debtors (3781) (opheiletes [word study] from opheílo = owe) describes a person who is indebted to another or bound by some duty (or under obligation). Opheiletes refers to a personal, moral obligation as contrasted to a necessity in the nature of the case. Sin makes us all debtors to God, and brings on an enslavement from which there is no release except through divine redemption and forgiveness, which in turn is to be expressed through us toward others.
It is interesting that this topic (forgiveness) is the only one for which Jesus gave an added explanation. One could arrange the passages as follows...
Note that "for" in Matthew 6:14 is a preposition that introduces Jesus' added explanation of the vital importance of our need to forgive others.
Kent Hughes has an humorous, albeit sad true story relating to this verse...
C H Spurgeon's prayer for forgiveness...
Ray Stedman writes that in this prayer for forgiveness we find...
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BURYING THE HATCHET - Old Joe was dying. For years he had been at odds with Bill, formerly one of his best friends. Wanting to straighten things out, he sent word for Bill to come and see him. When Bill arrived, Joe told him that he was afraid to go into eternity with such a bad feeling between them. Then, very reluctantly and with great effort, Joe apologized for things he had said and done. He also assured Bill that he forgave him for his offenses. Everything seemed fine until Bill turned to go. As he walked out of the room, Joe called out after him, "But, remember, if I get better, this doesn't count!"
What a picture of the way we often treat one another! The forgiveness we offer is superficial, and it is given with a selfish motive. We say that we forgive, but when the least little friction arises, how quick we are to resurrect past grievances. We like to "bury the hatchet" with the handle sticking out. That way we can easily pick it up again and use it to our advantage.
If our sinless Lord is willing to forgive us--with all our faults--how can we withhold pardon from those who have sinned against us? True Christlike forgiveness buries the hatchet completely. --R W De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Those who say they will forgive but can't forget,
For Further Thought - What happens to your fellowship with God when you hold a grudge? (Mt 6:15-note). Can you think of someone you need to forgive?
WHEN FORGIVENESS SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE - Corrie ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place, was taken captive and spent time in Nazi concentration camps during World War II. While in prison, Corrie saw incredible abuse, so inhumane that it drove the prisoners to incredible depths, including intentionally allowing lice to breed on their bodies because the more lice they had, the less likely it would be that the guards would molest them! And Corrie even witnessed the death of her own dear sister.
After the war, God sent Corrie ten Boom on a mission of mercy through the war-torn cities to encourage residents to choose forgiveness over bitterness. She would motivate her audiences by sharing some of the atrocities she had experienced, implying that if she could forgive such horrors, so could her listeners. One night speaking, she immediately recognized the man who came walking down the aisle as a particularly cruel guards in one of the concentration camps. The man did not recognize her however. As he approached Corrie he said...
Then he extended his hand to her. Can you imagine the horrible thoughts and memories that raced through Corrie's mind as she recognized his face and then even worse, heard his incredible plea for forgiveness? How could she? Corrie said her arms froze at her side and she was literally unable to move. The flashbacks in her mind replaying the atrocities, the death of her sister, the abuse. And then God's Spirit said to her,
Corrie went on to explain what happened next...
She later reported that at that moment...
Indeed Jesus said that if we abide in His Word, we would know the truth and that the truth would set us free. (Jn 8:31, 32) But "abiding" (continuing) in His Word is not simply hearing His Word or even just knowing His Word, but most critically includes obeying His Word. When we know the truth about what God says about forgiveness and make the conscious choice (impelled and empowered by His Spirit and His amazing grace sufficient for our every weakness, 2Co 12:9-note, 2Co 12:10-note), we will be set free by the Son and when He frees us we are free indeed. Remember that this freedom is not the right to do as you would, but the power to obey as you ought. (Jn 8:31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36)
Later Corrie said...
The Cycle Of Forgiveness - Perhaps you've seen the Vietnam War picture of Kim Phuc, a 9-year-old girl running naked in terror from her village, hoping to escape the horror of napalm that was burning her skin. The day was June 8, 1972. The pilot of the South Vietnamese plane was carrying out orders to bomb enemy troop positions in the village of Trang Bang.
Twenty-four years later, Kim Phuc was invited to Washington in 1996 to speak at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and to place a wreath of flowers to honor the US troops who had given their lives during the war. Kim had said previously that if she could talk to the pilot who dropped the napalm on her, she would forgive him. The person who introduced Kim stated, "An innocent victim of war, she holds no anger at the United States. She feels no anger at the government of Vietnam. She feels no anger at the man who dropped the napalm on her."
How could she forgive those who were responsible for causing her so much pain, for scarring her for life? Kim had become a Christian. She understood forgiveness--how to give it and how to receive it (Col. 3:13). She had been forgiven by Jesus for her own sin, and she was allowing the cycle of forgiveness to continue. How about us? — Dave Branon
Jesus came our debt to pay,
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Are You Good At Forgiving? - Is it possible to measure a Christian's spiritual maturity? Certainly we cannot judge it by the length or even the content of one's prayers. Too much public praying is done for its effect on the "listeners" instead of the "Listener." (Amen!) Even the generosity of one's giving is not an infallible test of spirituality, for it too may be for personal recognition or easing of a guilty conscience.
Is it hard to forgive a person who has offended us? When we look to Jesus as our example, how are we doing? The more we become like Him, the easier it will be to forgive others. When we think of how much He has forgiven us, we should be willing in turn to forgive others as God in Christ has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32-note).
British pastor and evangelist John Wesley (1703-1791) was traveling with General James Oglethorpe, who was angry with one of his subordinates. The man came to the general and humbly asked for forgiveness, but he was gruffly told,
Wesley looked the general in the eye and said,
Would you want God to forgive you in the same way you forgive others? Think about it. —M. R. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
I found a little remedy
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Erev Yom Kippur - In Judaism, the holiest day of the year is Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. On that day, the nation seeks God’s forgiveness for sins both personal and national.
What is interesting, however, is the day before Yom Kippur, known as Erev Yom Kippur. It represents a person’s last opportunity to seek forgiveness from other people before Yom Kippur begins. This is important because, in Jewish thought, you must seek forgiveness from other people before you can seek the forgiveness of God.
Today, we are called to do the same. Jesus pointed out that in order to worship Him with all our heart, we first need to resolve matters with others. In Matthew 5:23, 24, He said, “If you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Even in a matter so basic as our giving, the ability to truly worship God is hindered by the reality of relationships broken by our wrong actions, attitudes, and words.
So that our worship can be pleasing and acceptable to God, let us make every effort to be reconciled to one another—today. — Bill Crowder
Have you hurt a friend or brother?
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Forgive And Forgive And Forgive - Joe was dying, and he wanted to make everything right. He was at odds with Bill, who had been one of his best friends. They hadn't spoken to each other in years. Wanting to resolve the problem, he asked Bill to visit him.
When Bill arrived, Joe told him that he was afraid to go into eternity with bad feelings between them, and he wanted to make things right. Then he reached out for Bill's hand and said, "I forgive you. Will you forgive me?" Bill said he would, but just as he was leaving, Joe shouted, "But remember, if I get better, this doesn't count!"
We may smile at this story. Yet what a clear picture this gives of the way we sometimes treat one another. The forgiveness we profess is often superficial. It may be prompted by fear, or to gain some selfish advantage, or to clear our conscience--not out of genuine love for God and the one who has wronged us. Yes, we may say we forgive, but when the least little friction arises, we are quick to resurrect past grievances. How different is the forgiveness Jesus talked about! (Matthew 18:15-20, 21, 22, 34, 35).
The apostle Paul left no doubt about the nature of genuine forgiveness when he said we are to forgive one another just as God has forgiven us (Ephesians 4:32-note). That means we are to forgive—and forget. — Richard De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Christ the Lord our debt has paid—
Related Resources on Forgiveness