“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
In using the language of “debts” and “debtors,” our Lord makes it clear that each of us lives in a network of relationships in which we have responsibilities and obligations. There is what I owe to God, what I owe to others, and what others owe to me.
The only One who stands outside of this network of obligations is God Himself. God is no one’s debtor. “Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” (Rom. 11:34-35). God owes us nothing. But we have an obligation to God and to each other.
You can sum up our obligation in a single word: “love.” Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. (Matt. 22:37, 39). This is what God requires of us.
Now when we think of our sins, we usually think first of wrong things that we have done. But the starting point here is what we have failed to do. We owe God a life of devoted love every hour of every day of our entire lives. And what we owe, we have not paid.
We also have an obligation to others. Love your neighbor as yourself. That means we owe it to one another to always seek the other’s best interest. This is true in every human relationship. We owe a debt of love. You owe it to your husband, your wife, your parents, your children, your neighbors, your friends, your employer, your employees, and your coworkers.
Every day we owe a debt of love, and however much we love, that debt is never fully paid. “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another” (Rom. 13:8, NIV). You have one debt that is always outstanding and that is your debt to love God and love others.
Take some time now to talk with God about your mountain of debt.