March 23

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12

The Lord here teaches us to pray a prayer that He never prayed.  He never needed forgiveness, so it is a sign of His incredible love and identification with us, as if He were saying, “If I were you, this is what I would pray.”  God completely identifies with us in our weakness and understands us.  The need that is addressed here is our need to have a clear conscience towards all others.  Our joy and walk with God is dimmed if we have unfinished business – hurts we have caused or foolish words we have spoken, or sins we have committed.  The peace of God is for those who will be constantly watchful to ask for forgiveness from God and people, and to dispense it freely and completely to those who have wronged us in any way.  It is no use covering bad relationships up as if they will just disappear; we must persist and ensure that relationships are fully healed as much as lies in our power.  A letter or a phone call may bring release to someone else, but it will also bring release to us.  Jesus is teaching that all of life is two-way flow and we cannot ignore things we have done to others, nor dare we refuse to forgive anyone who has wronged us.  The power of right relationships with others is measured by the boldness it gives us in prayer, and the power of a right relationship with God.