My dear friend Kim joins us this week for Word Nerd Wednesday as we continue our study of The Lord’s Prayer with the word forgive.
How many of you have or have had student loans?? For the life of me I still don’t understand how in the world my husband wound up with student loans. He went to the Citadel, a military college in South Carolina, was in the ROTC program, served in the Army Reserves during his 4 years of college AND commissioned upon graduating. We’ve been married 15 years and we are STILL paying on those loans! By the grace of God, they are almost paid off! Whew!
I remember when my husband was a brand new 2 LT, fresh out of college, newly married to me and already expecting our first child. (We’re fertile people, okay? One missed birth control pill and 8 weeks into marriage…here comes baby) I remember very well what it was like to have to ask to borrow money from my husband’s grandmother because we were young and not prepared for all that life was throwing at us, as we had just started our journey as husband and wife. It’s very humbling. Can you relate?
Forgive Us Our Debts
As we continue through the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 we come to verse 12 “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” Some translations may read “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who have trespassed against us.” When we look to Webster’s Dictionary for the definition of forgive, we see that it is a verb which means to “stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.” This definition is very straight-forward and seems like an obvious definition of the word forgive. Every one of us, young and old, has been hurt or felt wronged by someone else, whether on purpose or by accident. True and complete forgiveness is found in your heart when you “stop feeling angry” towards the person(s) that hurt you. When you no longer want to get back at that person, you’ve forgiven them. Makes sense, right?
If you look down from that first definition, you’ll see that Webster’s also defined forgive as to “cancel a debt.” When we think about this definition, it isn’t as simple as the first. We have to consider what “debt” means and also the context in which it is used. Canceling a debt means you release someone from what they owe you. Many of our service men and women qualify for “loan forgiveness” on their student loans after a certain amount of years paid. (My husband had private loans, so we weren’t so lucky.) Student loan forgiveness means those who carried the debt no longer shoulder the burden of those loans. They no longer owe the bank. The balance has been paid in full.
Romans 6:23 states that, “the wages of sin is death.
” The cost of sin is death. Before Christ, the atonement for sin was given in the form of sacrifice. “Then Aaron shall offer the bull for the sin offering which is for himself, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household.”
God had already wiped out mankind with the flood and promised never to do it again, but He knew His people needed someone or something to “cancel the debt” of sin, permanently. Jesus canceled our debt with his death on the cross. He paid the price for us all. He took our place. The balance of what we owe for our sin has been paid in full. The burden of those sins is no longer on our shoulders. Permanently.
As We Forgive Our Debtors
As much as it humbled my husband and I to ask to borrow money from his family 15 years ago, it was just as humbling while we repaid that loan over several months. Every month we were reminded that we owed a balance to his grandmother. Every payday she was knocking on our door, looking for what was owed to her.
Do you all remember the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18? A servant owed his master TEN thousand bags of gold and was unable to pay. The master ordered that the servant and his family be sold to repay the debt. Distraught, the servant begged on his knees to the master to have mercy on him. The master took pity on his servant, canceled his debt and let him go. Can you even imagine the relief that servant must have felt?? I can’t even fathom the despair of having my family sold to repay a debt. That servant must have walked in such peace after that, right? WRONG!
If you know this story, then you know that as soon as he was clear of his master, he went out and found a fellow servant that owed him only ONE hundred silver coins, a much less debt than the one he had just been forgiven. The servant began choking the fellow servant and demanded that he pay it immediately. The fellow servant fell to his knees and begged for mercy, just as the servant had done with his master. But unlike the merciful master, the servant, unrelenting, refused.
The Crux Of It All: Forgive
The Bible is clear that if we do not forgive from the heart, we will not be forgiven ourselves. (Matthew 18:35) When it comes to that simple definition to “stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake,” we can’t seem to find it in our hearts to forgive. It’s not easy to let go of our hurts, our anger, or our rights to punish those who have wronged us, especially when you have endured heinous things. But no matter what we have endured at the hands of someone else, Jesus endured a brutal death on the cross by our hands and for our debt.
Friends, we have been forgiven for so much. Our sins, no matter how big or small, nailed Jesus to the cross. He doesn’t come knocking on our doors for repayment or remind us that we owe Him. Our debt was paid in full. We can walk in such peace without that burden of despair on our shoulders, and release others from the slavery of unforgiveness we sell them into.
Let go and let God.
Kimberly is southern bred in the heart of South Carolina. She gave up her roots when she married a Citadel grad who commissioned in the Army in 2003. Kimberly and her soldier husband have 2 boys, ages 13 and 10.
She’s been open and honest about her family’s time in a cult and uses her experiences to help other people.