And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:12
Few things are more precious to receive than forgiveness. After carrying the burden of our sin, it is wonderfully freeing to know that the one we have wronged has completely forgiven us. Jesus told His disciples to ask God for forgiveness every time they prayed. Jesus knew that we would daily incur debts against God, as we inevitably fall short of God’s standard. A day does not go by that we do not need to ask God to remove our debt against Him.
Jesus warned that we should expect forgiveness from God as we forgive those who sin against us, for God will forgive us in the same way we forgive others (Matt. 6:15). God’s nature is forgiveness (Exod. 34:6-7). If we are to be His disciples, we must follow His example. If God will forgive our most relentless enemy, we can do nothing less. Jesus did not say that certain offenses are unworthy of our forgiveness. We have no biblical excuse for allowing unforgiveness in our hearts.
If you choose to withhold forgiveness from someone, your worship and prayers are futile (Matt. 5:23-24). Ask God to make you aware of those dark corners in your life where you are harboring resentment. A keen awareness of your own need for forgiveness will put the offenses of others in their proper light. Ask God to make you like Christ so that, even when you are being persecuted, you can pray “Father, forgive them.”
This is excellent advice for a Jewish disciple who is still trying to become righteous by keeping the Law of Moses. Having to forgive others perfectly in order for God to forgive them perfectly would surely show them their need for the Savior, just as Paul says the Law does (Galatians 3:24).
Once they believe on Jesus and receive complete forgiveness of every sin (Acts 10:43, Colossians 2:14, 2 Corinthians 5:19, etc) they become a new creation in Christ, with a desire to forgive others in the same way that God has already forgiven them in Christ (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:13).