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 onto 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.
[See Matthew 6:12.]
A lifelong student of the Bible, Peter DeHaan, PhD, wrote the 700-page website ABibleADay.com to encourage people to explore the Bible. His main blog and many books urge Christians to push past the status quo and reconsider how they practice their faith in every area of their lives.