“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Matthew 6:12
“Debtors” means that there will be people in your life who will not give you what they owe. God places others under an obligation of love toward you as He places you under an obligation of love toward them.
But we live in a fallen world, and just as you have defaulted in what you owe to God and to others, so others will default in what they owe to God and to you. They will be your debtors.
There will be people in your life who fail to love you well. They are your debtors. But even when a person fails to love you, you still have an obligation to love them.
What does love for others look like?
Consideration. Jesus said, “Do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matt. 7:12, NIV). Put yourself in the shoes of the other person. Try to look at the situation from his or her point of view. Do for that person what you would hope for if you were in their place.
Empathy. God calls us to “rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15). Love enters into another person’s joys and sorrows. Love means other people’s joys are a joy to you, and other people’s sorrows are a sorrow to you.
Grace. “Love covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Pet. 4:8). Peter is not talking about crimes. The point here is that for Christ’s sake, God covers over a multitude of our sins, some that we are not even aware of, and we should do the same for others.
Forgiveness. “Forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4:32). We are to forgive those who have wronged us, failed us, and disappointed us as we have been forgiven. So the starting point for forgiving others is the forgiveness we have received.
As you consider God’s love for you, what one person that you ordinarily consider a “debtor” could you love? How?