|The Golden Gate
The language is very strong. In Matthew, according to the revised Version, the petition read, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” In Luke it is “And forgive us our sins; for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us.” We cannot use the first part of the petition, asking our Father to forgive us, and not follow with the other in which we declare that we will show to others the same forgiveness which we ask for ourself.
The great importance of this duty of forgiving appears when we remember how repeatedly it is brought before us. When our Lord had gone through the form of prayer, he called the particular attention of his disciples to this petition, in the words, “For it ye forgive men their trespasses, our heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespassed, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” On another occasion, when speaking of prayer and the power we may exercise through prayer — “All things whatsoever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye have received them, and ye shall have them,” Jesus added, “And whensoever ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against any one; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Whenever we appear before God, and before we begin to speak to him, we should look into our own heart, and if we find there any bitterness, any feeling of unforgiveness, we should seek instantly to put it away. Indeed we must put it away before we can proceed with our prayer.