Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:11-12
“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”
For too long we have assumed that God owes us a living. If we have food, we don’t thank Him; if we don’t, He’s to blame. After all, we are the ones to go to work (if we can find a job, that is). We are the ones who get up early in the morning to struggle through traffic. We are the ones who put out strained effort throughout the day. We are the “bread-winners.” We, we, we….
Let me ask you a few questions, however: Who made us? Who gives us the ability to perform? Who provides the proper weather for the crops to grow? Who made the cows that give milk?
In other words, do you live by your own strength, energy or ability? Let me ask it in a different way: What if you were to go to any grocery store and the shelves would be empty? (As you well realize, there are millions of people on the face of this earth who literally have no food or a very meager subsistence, perhaps just enough to die of malnutrition).
When we pray for God to give us our daily bread, here is some “food for thought”:
- First, it takes humility to bow before the Almighty and thank Him for His resources.
- We should not assume that one prayer is sufficient. This is a daily prayer for daily sustenance.
- Just as physical bread is indispensable for physical life so also is spiritual bread indispensable for eternal life. John 6:33-35 says it so well: “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Then they said to Him, ‘Lord, give us this bread always.’ And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’”
“And Forgive Us Our Debts, As We Forgive Our Debtors”
The next two phrases are not exactly the easiest to understand. But with God’s help, we’ll seek to explain their meanings.
What does the text have in mind when it refers to debts? Needless to say, our immediate thoughts revert to finances. But I think the text has something else in mind. When we speak of God’s forgiving our debts, we need to understand that we are debtors to Him, not in the sense of owing Him money, but in the sense of being in debt to Him for His forgiveness of our sins – – our short-comings. We have wronged God and in His grace He has provided forgiveness for our sins against Him.
But let us never assume that God is bound by duty to forgive us, especially not when we refuse to forgive those who have short-changed us morally. When we ask God to forgive our sins against Him, we must also ask, have we forgiven those who have sinned against us? The idea of forgiveness, prevalent in this portion of Scripture, signifies to send away, dismiss, or wipe off. We must release or let go of others’ sins against us if we would be forgiven by God Himself! We cannot indulge in the luxury of harboring evils committed against us, but must release these evils to God’s disposal. Our job is to forgive, and it is up to God to take care of the consequences.
Folks, I do not want to meet God with hatred and grudges. I value His forgiveness towards me all too much to consider the price involved – – His shed blood on the cross in my behalf. If forgiveness is proportionate, then may we forgive completely! “…and be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).