By Michael Koontz
Pastor, Pine Ridge Baptist Church, Harriman
This week we focus in on confession and forgiveness. I must constantly admit my sins and ask for forgiveness. The word ‘debts’ (Matthew 6:12) is a New Testament Greek term for sin. We have all fallen short of God’s righteousness.
Our sin is what causes separation between us and God. My sin problem was eternally solved at the age of 13 when I accepted Jesus as my Savior and Lord.
As a Christian these past 31 years, I have continued to sin and must go back to the Father and ask for forgiveness. I’m forever saved, but if I sin today, that is causing an issue between me and God.
That must be confessed so that God can work His will through the life He gives me each day. Make note that this prayer of Matthew 12 is given to us, the believers, and the debts are what we incur when we sin.
In Psalm 51 we see the lament King David had over his sin. The sin was the adulterous relationship with Bathsheba that led to the murder of Uriah.
Sin is always a slippery slope. We like to set up a massive slip-n-slide on the hill in the front yard of our church. We place sprinklers and the foam machine so that once you start down this hill, you don’t stop till you reach the bottom.
In a similar way, when sin is not addressed quickly in our lives, we find ourselves accelerating and the ongoing sin can cause us to hit rock bottom with disastrous consequences. David actually started off by staring at Bathsheba and it led to the murder of an innocent man.
As you read this Psalm, you can feel the brokenness of David. He desperately wants mercy, to be cleansed, and admits that his sin is ultimately against God.
I believe he wanted forgiveness more than anything at that time in his life. I cannot imagine the weight he must have felt knowing innocent blood was on his hands. And yet, our God offers forgiveness.
Jesus is showing us that an important issue is our heart. What is going on inside of us that no one else may see. A sin such as hatred can be held on to inside and outwardly there may be little to no indication of that hate. Man may not see it but of course our Father does.
It’s time to stop being content in being right in the eyes of man. We can fool each other easily. It is time that we be concerned first and foremost in being right with our Heavenly Father.
Just as we are forgiven by the Father, we must also practice forgiving others. Matthew 6:12b “as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
God has forgiven you more than you will ever deserve. Being the recipient of such great forgiveness, how can we withhold forgiveness toward others? Forgiveness is not listed here as conditional.
We are not told to forgive two or three times only. Keep on forgiving. My Heavenly Father keeps on forgiving me each time I sin against Him. As we continue to practice this, we just might have an impression on someone.
How wonderful to think, that someone might come to know Jesus as their Savior because you forgave them. That is loving others to Jesus!