When we pray for forgiveness, why do we add the words “as we forgive those who trespass against us” to our prayer?
Our forgiveness does not cause God to forgive us our sins, for God has already forgiven our sins and the sins of all people in Christ His Son, because of His Son’s work of atonement. We do not therefore earn forgiveness for ourselves by forgiving the sins of our fellow men, who have sinned against us. We receive forgiveness for our sins solely by grace, through faith, without our works. It is a free gift of God.
In the Lord’s Prayer our Savior does not teach unbelievers how to pray, but rather teaches those, who already believe that their sins have been forgiven, and who know the grace of God. Thus in this petition the Savior teaches believers, that they are always to watch, so that their hearts will not become hardened toward their neighbor, and so that they will not in this way drive out the Holy Spirit from their hearts, and lose their saving faith and forgiveness, because of their unbelief.
Assignment: Read Matt. 5:21-26: Jesus teaches the disciples to live together in harmony.