“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors….” Matthew 6:12
We look continually for God’s mercy when we personally mess up and saw last week how willing our Father is to freely and graciously give mercy to us.
Strongs’ Greek Definition for this word debt is defined as something owed, a due. Thayers’ Greek Definition is that which is justly or legally due, a debt.
Since we live in an age of entitlement, it should be pretty easy to see how we fall into the mindset that others owe us and are tempted to hold them in ‘debt’ especially when it is perceived as just and/or legal to do so.
We all have certain expectations about how others should give to us. We even have scriptural standards about righteous behavior towards one another. The error comes when we demand something that isn’t freely or willingly given and withhold what we should freely give.
The book of Romans says owe no one anything but to simply love them. Forgiveness can only flow from a heart of love. Unmet expectations could cause us to remove an open hearted love towards them.
We don’t judge this as He would. We excuse ourselves saying there is no un- forgiveness in our hearts but when scrutinized by the love of God, anything that is not freely for ‘giving’ to another would be un for giving, i.e. I don’t want to give them anything! It’s the withdrawing that’s dangerous.
Entitlement is a slippery slope. Parents feel like their children owe them. Spouses hold the same mindsets. Pastors to their people. Volunteers to the ones they help. We all expect accolades and thanks for the things we do, but how do we handle the lack of expected yet unfulfilled ‘dues’.
We come to the Father daily, looking for His goodness to fall upon us and His mercies to abound, yet without the heart to extend these qualities to others we are told that forgiveness cannot be ours.
Jesus said, “When you stand praying ,forgive, if you have you have anything against anyone, so that your Father in heaven will forgive you your transgressions.”
The only way I know how to keep free of any of this is constant communion with the Father with the help from the Holy Spirit (bringing grace and reminding us to seek not our own). It’s always better to deal with heart issues than clean up words spoken.
Denying self is something our flesh will always resist.
Loving others is something the Holy Spirit is always at work perfecting.