"Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us." Matthew 6:12 - (the "our father" prayer that Jesus taught us)


We all need forgiveness from God and we all need to be able to forgive.

RT Kendall explains



More thoughts on Forgiveness - prompted by a house group meeting studying the "Lord's Prayer"

Including really helpful teachings from Nehemia Gordon, in the book, "A Prayer to Our Father' co written with Keith Johnson.

"and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us" (Traditional)

Trespasses ? What does that mean ? Surely not just entering a field belonging to somebody else.
Translations differ
CJB - "Forgive us what we have done wrong, as we too have forgiven those who have wronged us."
KJV - "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
Nehemia Gordon translates from the Hebrew text of Matthew as "forgive us the debt of our sins,"
Yes, we are talking about SIN.

Firstly, forgive - What does that mean ?

Definition of forgive - Merriam Webster

1: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) : PARDON
forgive one's enemies
2a: to give up resentment of or claim to requital (see REQUITAL sense 1) for
forgive an insult
2b: to grant relief from payment of
forgive a debt

Nehemia Gordon writes
Forgive Us the Debt of Our Sins As We Forgive the Debt of Those Who Sin Against Us
Forgiving those who ask for forgiveness is a central part of my Jewish heritage. In the Hebrew Bible, our heavenly Father is called El Nose, a "Forgiving God." The Torah teaches us to "to walk in all his ways," which means to be merciful and forgiving to our fellow human beings just as God is merciful and forgiving to us.

While we are taught to emulate God's benevolent traits, vengeance is deemed to be an exclusively divine privilege. In Deuteronomy, the Almighty proclaims: "Vengeance and retribution belong to me," and the Torah explicitly forbids the individual from exacting vengeance.

Read Matthew 18:21-35 (the forgiven servant who would not forgive)
Are we contradicting our Gospel message, by saying God will not forgive us if...... ?

When a person has deeply hurt us or even physically harmed us, it is very difficult for us to let go of our anger. But Leviticus teaches us:. You must not take revenge and you must not bear a grudge, but you must love your neighbour as you love yourself, I am Yehovah.
The reason we must obey this commandment is simply because "I am Yehovah;" if we bear a grudge or hate our brothers in our hearts then we have sinned against our heavenly Father.

The requirement to forgive those who have wronged us also follows from the Hebrew principle of midah ke-neged midah, or "reciprocal justice." According to this principle, God treats us the way that we treat others.

Looked at another way - Yes, God forgives our sins when we confess them, but when we disobey his command to forgive, we are committing another sin that needs to be repented of and forgiven.

Matthew 18:21 - Then Kefa came up and said to him, "Rabbi, how often can my brother sin against me and I have to forgive him? As many as seven times?"

  "No, not seven times," answered Yeshua, "but seventy times seven!

Forgiving people who have not asked us to forgive them ?

Luke 17:3 - Watch yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Also, if seven times in one day he sins against you, and seven times he comes to you and says, 'I repent,' you are to forgive him."

Is there a conflict here? I believe not; from the point of view of the brother, he should repent and seek forgiveness. But even if he does not, we should forgive and not hold a grudge.

But someone who is not a believer who has wronged us? I suggest we need to forgive in our hearts; for our own wellbeing.

What about Jesus' prayer of forgiveness for those responsible for crucifying him ?
Yes, it shows his supreme love and grace, but why / how, if they had no remorse about it.

Were they eternally forgiven - no matter what?

Where is God's justice in that?

I would suggest the clue is in Jesus' words, "for they don't know what they are doing." So they were forgiven, but they would later have to confront the knowledge of what they had done, when Peter and the others preached the Gospel.

Acts 2:36 - Therefore, let the whole house of Isra'el know beyond doubt that God has made him both Lord and Messiah - this Yeshua, whom you executed on a stake! " On hearing this, they were stung in their hearts; and they said to Kefa and the other emissaries, "Brothers, what should we do?" Kefa answered them, "Turn from sin, return to God, and each of you be immersed on the authority of Yeshua the Messiah into forgiveness of your sins,

Then they had to repent and be forgiven or be condemned for rejecting Jesus the Messiah. Just like we all have to.

Jesus was not going to condemn the people he had come to save - he entrusted vengeance or forgiveness to his Father - as we must.

Taking the message of Forgiveness too far

It can be a bit like Christmas without Easter. God sent Jesus to bring forgiveness and peace to all mankind; yes but like all gifts it needs to be accepted. It doesn't promise that God will forgive everybody including those who reject his gift. If God was just going to end up forgiving everybody, there was no need for Jesus to suffer all that he did to save those who believe.

Forgiving the Debt of Sin - NG again

Those who read this section of the Avinu Prayer in Greek (or in an English translation of the Greek) cannot help but notice a major discrepancy between the wordings in Luke and Matthew. In Luke, the prayer says "forgive us our sins," but in Greek Matthew, it says "forgive us our debts."
The reader of these two Greek Gospels can only wonder whether Yeshua really spoke about "sins" or "debts." The answer to this question lies in the Hebrew source behind the Greek. The problem that faced the Greek translators of the prayer was that the Hebrew word for "forgiveness" - mechol - literally means "to cancel a debt."

In Greek it sounds strange to ask God to forgive a "debt," because this is a term associated with banking and finance. It would be like someone in modern English praying to God: Oh Father, forgive me my mortgage!

Jesus used the word mechol, which means to cancel a debt. When God forgives us, the debt of our sin no longer needs to be paid. It means we no longer have to carry around that burden of debt for our sin.

Another Hebrew word for forgiveness is nasa, which means "to bear a burden." God is called El Nose "a forgiving God," or literally, "a God who bears [the burden of sin]."

Picture of Christian, in Pilgrim's Progress, losing his burden at the cross.
Frederic Barnard, engraved by Dalziel Brothers, in "Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress with over 100 illustrations."

Remember, as we pray to Our Father, we are still praying corporately. Yeshua could have opened his prayer with the words "my Father" and asked God to "forgive me for the debt of my sins." Instead, the entire prayer uses the plural, referring to "our" and "us."

In Hebrew thought, a person bears both an individual responsibility for his own actions and a collective responsibility for the society in which he lives.


Updated 02/03/19

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