When you pray, be careful what you pray — I’m serious, be very careful.
In the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples (also called “The Lord’s Prayer” or the “Our Father”), one part says:
“Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors.”
Some translations use the word “sins” or “transgressions” in place of debts, but the intent is the same.
The request is that God will forgive us…to the degree we forgive others.
That is, if we forgive fully, we are asking God to forgive us fully. However , if we only forgive partially — keeping grudges, holding on to ill-feelings, or harboring hate — then we are asking God to only forgive us partially. Our lack of forgiveness towards others could limit the amount of forgiveness we receive. Ouch!
So when I pray that prayer, I do so carefully and with some trepidation; some days, I even want to skip that part!
However,skipping it is not the answer. A better solution is to be steadfast and diligent in forgiving others — then we can likewise expect the same from God.
Get Instant Access!
Sign up for my weekly newsletter about biblical spirituality, and I'll send you a free e-book, How Big Is Your Tent?