An Exploration of The Lord’s Prayer – Blog Series – Part Eight
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:14-15 NRSV).
Matthew returns to Jesus’ topic addressed in verse twelve but expands upon his explanation of forgiveness. As before, the Heavenly Father’s forgiveness of trespasses and sins is directly corelated with the forgiveness of another’s trespasses and sins. France adds, “The point is not so much that forgiving is a prior condition of being forgiven, but that forgiveness cannot be a one-way process” (France 1985, 141). To ask for and receive forgiveness from God, yet to withhold it from another would be hypocrisy; an attribute itself that Jesus rebukes in the beginning of the instruction on prayer. Blomberg says, “Without this interpersonal reconciliation on the human level, neither can we be reconciled to God” (Blomberg 1992, 120).
The contemporary Christian would see much benefit in always keeping these verses in mind when interacting with others. Wilkins says, “Once disciples have received forgiveness and salvation, they are to forgive with the same forgiveness with which they have been forgiven. This is the evidence that they are indeed forgiven” (Wilkins 2004, 280). Throughout Jesus’ ministry he taught multiple parables on forgiveness, a characteristic and distinguishing trait that Christians should desire to acquire and demonstrate in their daily lives.
Tomorrow, we conclude our series.