According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, man's basic needs are physiological, oxygen to breathe and food to eat. According to Jesus, man's basic needs are spiritual, to be forgiven and to forgive.
With the same tenacity and intensity that we ask for God's provisions (Matthew 6:11), we must also seek His pardon. This means asking Him to forgive us of our sins and to enable us to forgive those who have sinned against us. "Forgive us our sins" is an explicit prayer for God's forgiveness. "As we have forgiven those who sin against us" is an implicit prayer for a forgiving spirit (v.12).
Commenting on this, Bible teacher Haddon Robinson wrote, "Augustine labeled this request for forgiveness â€˜the terrible petition,' because if we harbor an unforgiving spirit while we pray to be forgiven in the same way as we forgive others, we are actually asking God not to forgive us." Perhaps that's why Jesus, immediately after teaching His disciples this prayer, stated clearly what was at stake for those who pray it. In fact, this is the only request He elaborated on. He warned, "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins" (vv.14-15).
While our salvation is not based on our goodness in forgiving others (Ephesians 2:8-9), our personal fellowship and intimacy with God is dependent on the understanding that we have been forgiven much (Luke 7:40-47). And one who knows that he has been forgiven much will love much (v.47). Jesus is talking about family forgiveness. Just as the Father has forgiven us, we should forgive our brothers and sisters. For if we are truly forgiven, we will also be forgiving. , K.T. Sim
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