“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…”
In order to be able to sincerely ask forgiveness of our sins, we must be willing to undergo prayerful self examination. The LORD’s prayer teaches us to ask God to show us our secret faults, our trespasses, and any obstacles between our soul and God which we might be unaware of.
We serve and worship a God who is able to search our hearts. He can see what we cannot see about ourselves. We can learn to pray sincerely with David, for the light of God in our self examination, knowing that what God exposes, God purges out of our souls.
Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.(Psalm 139:23-24)
In the process of doing so and asking our Father for forgiveness, invariably, names and faces of others who have sinned against us will arise in our consciousness. We must forgive from the heart all of those who have sinned against us, in order to receive forgiveness.
The knowledge of our own sin and of the reality of God’s merciful forgiveness is supposed to make us tender hearted and forgiving towards those who sin against us. We rejoice in a God who will not”Mark Iniquities” , who freely forgives all sin, transgression and iniquity, and who “casts our sins into the sea of forgetfulness”.
It would be a serious sin to receive such blessings, but then to not let them soften your own heart towards those who are indebted to you, or who have wronged you.
Thus the request for forgiveness of our own sins is conditional, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors…”.
Do we hate all sins or only those sins committed against our own persons? This is the difference between genuine sanctification and self Righteousness. Can we forgive others? Can we go further and actually love others, who have hurt, abused or spoken evil of us?
The Parable of the debtor makes this point clearly,
Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.
But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.
And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses. (Matthew 18:23-35)
We must pray constantly not to be affected and infected by the bitterness, hatred, and pettiness of our age. There will be many offenses presented to us. Constantly forgive others as you have been, and would want to be forgiven by God yourself.