When teaching His disciples how to pray, the Lord offered this phrase as a good one to use:

Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…”
(Matthew 6:12)

Jesus tells us to ask for forgiveness but only if we are willing to extend forgiveness to others. What a remarkable statement this is! It demonstrates total humility: The idea that I would ask God NOT to forgive me UNTIL I have forgiven those who have asked ME for forgiveness shows a heart purely committed to holiness.

In fact, the way the language is worded it seems like Jesus is saying “As I’m forgiving others, You forgive me” like it’s a daily process dependent in part on my actions. Think about that: We understand that we have no power to forgive ourselves of sin, yet Jesus tells us here that forgiveness is made possible to us by God on the condition of our forgiving others.

So while we may not be able to forgive ourselves in our own way, we can commit actions that bring about our forgiveness because God grants that to us by His grace. How fitting, too, that the action He allows us to perform that will forgive us of sin is…forgiving others of their sins against us! When you think about it…that’s a really deep thought.