“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
Forgiveness is not natural. Most often the hurt that goes in, comes out, and gets passed on to someone else.
But Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’… But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:38, 44).
Something better than endless retaliation is possible: “To this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Pet. 2:21). Peter is talking about our calling as Christian believers when we are wronged, and he tells us that what God calls us to do has been modeled by Jesus.
What was the example? Our Lord was mocked, shamed, insulted, and treated with contempt. He could have called twelve legions of angels, but He didn’t do that. “When he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (2:23).
Jesus did this by praying the Lord’s Prayer: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Then comes the amazing description of what happened at the cross: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet. 2:24).
The shame and guilt of our sins were laid on Jesus. He did not pass them on. He absorbed them. This is how we are forgiven and find peace with God. And this is the example we are to follow. We cannot make atonement for the world, but we are called to follow the example of Jesus. And we are never more like the Son of God than when we choose to forgive.
Who could you choose to forgive today?