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And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors

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And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors


Here is the eighth issue of the “Lord’s Prayer” newsletter. It is dedicated to the fifth petition "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."

Get ready to read

Be silent for a minute or two so that, as stated in the prayer book, to calm all your feelings and tune in to prayer and reading the Scriptures. Do not switch between the tabs and do not think about business.


In Church Slavonic

Lord Jesus Christ, open your ears, hear your word, and understand and do your will, as a stranger am upon the earth: not a scorn of your commandments, but my eyes open, that I may understand the wonders of your law; tell me the unknown and the secret of thy wisdom. I hope in Thee, O my God, yes, enlighten the mind and sense with the light of your mind not only written in honor, but I also create, but I cannot read the saints of life and words to myself, but in the update, and the enlightenment, and the shrine, and the salvation of the soul, and the inheritance of life everlasting. Yako thou art enlighten those who lie in darkness and from You is every gift of good and every gift is perfect. Amen.

In Russian

Lord Jesus Christ, open to me my heart’s ears, so that when I hear Your Word, I understand it and do Your will, because I am a stranger on earth. Do not hide your commandments from me, but open my eyes, so that I may comprehend the miracles of your law. Tell me your unknown and secret wisdom. I trust in You, my God, and I believe that You will enlighten my mind and meaning with the light of the knowledge of You, and that then I will not only read what is written, but also fulfill it. Make me not read my Word for sin, but in renewal and in enlightenment, and in shrine, and in the salvation of the soul, and in the inheritance of eternal life. For You, Lord, are those who lie in darkness, and from You are every good gift and every perfect gift. Amen.

Keep silent.

Read the Lord’s Prayer

9 Pray thus: Our Father in heaven! hallowed be thy name;
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven;
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Mat.6: 9-13)

Slowly re-read the fifth petition: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors and think about these words for two or three minutes. You can just slowly repeat them out loud or to yourself, focusing on their meaning. If you have any thoughts or questions, write them down.

Answer the questions:

Why is this petition in the prayer “Our Father” not the first?
Why does the forgiveness of our sins by God depend here on whether we forgive those who have sinned before us?

Read the parable of the unmerciful debtor the gospel of Matthew, chapter 18

23 Therefore the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants;
24 when he began to reckon, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents;
25 but as he did not have anything to pay, his sovereign ordered him to be sold, his wife, children, and all that he had, and to pay;
26 Then the servant fell, and, bowing to him, said: Sire! be patient with me and I will pay you everything.
27 The sovereign, having had compassion on the slave, let him go and forgave him the debt.
28 And the slave, going out, found one of his companions, who owed him a hundred denarii, and, seizing him, choked him, saying: Give me what you owe.
29 Then his comrade fell at his feet, begged him, and said: Have patience with me, and I will give everything to you.
30 But he would not, but went and set him in prison, till he should pay the debt.
31 His comrades, seeing what had happened, were very upset and, coming, told their sovereign everything before the monarch.
32 Then his lord calls him and says, Evil servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me;
33 Won't you have mercy on your comrade, as I have mercy on you?
34 And being angry, his lord gave him to the torturers until he paid him all the debt.
35 So also my heavenly Father will do to you, if each of you will not forgive his brother for his sins from the heart.
Write down the thoughts that came to your mind after reading this parable.

Our comment

Actually, what is this parable about? Imagine you scored loans – for an apartment, for business, for training – and you can not pay interest. Interest grows, debt increases, total debt approaches 100 million. Every day calls are made from the bank, collection agencies are connected to the case and call every half hour, people with broad shoulders are waiting for you at the door and, looking intently in the eyes, hint that it will be hard for your wife and children if something happens to you. You cry and beg to be patient – you would just find a job or start a business and you will pay everything. The case moves to a sinister denouement. And suddenly … from the bank the bell rings, and they tell you that they have decided to forgive you everything. And the debt on the loan, and interest on it. You no longer have to and can breathe freely and simply live. Then you go out and see a person who owes you 30 thousand. You cling to him and begin to threaten that if he does not pay the debt, something can happen to him …. Something like this happens in the parable of the unmerciful debtor.

Please answer the following questions:

Why do you think an unmerciful debtor behaves that way?
Why does the king believe that the forgiven debtor had to forgive his companion too?

What can prevent to forgive?
What can help forgive?

Personal questions

Do you have a feeling, you were indebted to God, and He forgave you this debt?
How would you rate the order of your debt to God – 10 thousand rubles, 100 thousand, million, 100 million?
Do you believe that God forgives you every time you confess your sin and ask for forgiveness?
How did you manage to forgive those you forgive?
How does this help you forgive the rest?
Read the interpretation – all or one, to choose from.

Saint Cyprian of Carthage
St. Gregory of Nyssa
St. Luke Voyno-Yasenetsky


After turning to divine bounty, His mercy must be sought. Food does not embrace us all the right and useful. The Lord knew that He alone is always sinless. Why teaches us to pray for the remission of our debts. This is confession, asking for forgiveness. Whoever asks for forgiveness confesses sin. It is thus proved that God accepts repentance; He wishes him more than “the death of the sinner” (Ezek.33, 11). Debt in Scripture is an image of sin; and is subject to judgment and torture, from which the oppressed will not abide, until they will repay all, as the Lord has depicted in the parable — Mf.18. 23-34. The parable is all about interpreting the meaning of the present petition. For the fact that there, in the parable, the slave, pardoned by the lord, did not spare his debtor for the sake of this, and, according to the report of that lord, was betrayed by the detractor to recover from him the debt to the last co-worker, i.e. until the slightest remnant of it leads to this, in order to place us and forgive our debtors for receiving forgiveness from the Lord. For the same purpose, the Lord commanded another place: “Let go and let you go” (Lk.6, 37). And when Peter asked Him to let him go up to seven times, he said: “not only seven, but up to seventy times the suicide” (Mf.18, 22).

Saint Cyprian of Carthage

By asking for food, absolution is sought, so that a person fed by God both lives in God and takes care not only of temporal but also of eternal life – and it can be achieved if the sins that the Lord calls in his Gospel forgiveness be forgiven, saying: “All the debt I have dispensed to you, I have utterly pleaded to Me” (Mf.18, 32). And how necessary, how perspicacious and saving is the reminder with which we, sinners, are urged to pray for sins, so that by asking God for mercy, the spirit would come to self-consciousness! To eliminate contentment, as if innocent, to avoid the danger of dying through arrogance, we are commanded to daily pray for sins and, therefore, are reminded and instructed that we sin daily. The same indicates in his Epistle John, saying: “when we speak, as sin is not imams, we deceive ourselves and have no truth in us. But if we confess our sins, we are faithful and righteous (Lord), may our sins be forsaken to us ”(1 John 1: 8–9). In his Message, he embraced both that which we must ask for sins, and that which we will receive forgiveness if we ask. For he called the Lord faithful, that is, faithfully fulfilling his promise; and He who taught us to pray for our sins and our debts promised us the mercy of the Father and then the next forgiveness. To this, the Lord clearly added and added a law limiting us to a certain condition and a vow by which we must ask that debts be left to us in the same way as we leave to our debtors, knowing who cannot be received by us for absolution. do the same for our debtors. Therefore, in another place, He says: “Measure in the lower measure, it will be done to you” (Matt.7: 2). Give a slave who did not want to forgive his comrade then, as the lord forgave him all the debt, he was imprisoned; he lost the indulgence shown to him by the Lord, because he did not want to show leniency to his comrade (Matt 18.27-34). This is even stronger and more rigorous in His judgment the Lord sets forth in His commandments. And “Always,” he says, “stand praying, let go, even if you have an imatee, and your Father, Who is in heaven, will let you have your sins: if you do not let go, your Father is not, He is in heaven, He will let you go of your sins ”(Matt 11.25-26). So, you don’t have any excuse on the day of the trial: you will be judged by your own sentence, you will be treated the way you do to others.

God commands that only peaceful, consonant, and unanimous people live in His house. He wants those who are born again and remain as He made them a second birth; that those who became sons of God should dwell in the peace of God; so that we, who have one spirit, have one heart and feeling. He does not accept sacrifice from the one who is in enmity, and orders that one return from the altar and first reconcile with his brother, so that later he can appease God with peaceful supplications. For God, a great sacrifice is our world and fraternal concord, a people united in the unity of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. At the first sacrifices offered by Abel and Cain, God did not look at their gifts, but at their hearts, so that he pleased with gifts, who pleased with his heart. Peaceful and righteous Abel, sacrificing innocence to God, gave a lesson to others who bring the gift to the altar, to come there with the fear of God, with a simple heart, with the law of truth, with the world of accord. Bringing a sacrifice to God with such an arrangement, he later himself became a sacrifice to God: the keeper of the truth of the Lord and of the world, he was the first, having suffered martyrdom, with the glory of his blood, began the suffering of the Lord. Those are finally crowned by the Lord! They will be judged with the Lord on the day of judgment! On the contrary, who is in enmity and disagreement, who does not have peace with the brothers, he, according to the testimony of the blessed apostle and Holy Scripture, even if he had died for the name of Christ, still remains guilty of brotherly enmity (1 Cor. 13, 3); and the Scripture says: “every man who hates his brother is a murderer” (1In.3.15), but a murderer cannot either reach the Kingdom of Heaven or live with Bot. There can be no one with Christ who better chose to be an imitator of Judah than Christ. What is a sin that is not washed by the baptism of blood? What is a crime that can not be repaid and martyrdom?

St. Gregory of Nyssa

The word, reaching forward, entered the very top of virtue. For words of prayer depict how, at his request, he should approach him; shows that he is already beyond the bounds of human nature and is likened by virtue to God Himself, so by doing what it is common to do to God alone, it seems that he himself becomes the second God. For the debt is God's property, and the property is preferential, it is said: “No one can forsake sins, only God is one” (Luke 5:21). Therefore, if someone in his life has become similar to the distinctive features of God's nature, then he himself is in some way done by the same person with whom he showed a similarity in himself by exact matching.

So what does the word teach it? First, with boldness, on which the right of the preceding life was acquired, to recognize in oneself the likeness to God, and then already dare to call God as your Father and ask forgiveness in former sins, because not everyone who asks is possible to get what he wants, but that who by works has acquired the right to ask with boldness. For the Lord directly teaches us in the present dictum, namely, when approaching the benefactor, be himself a benefactor; embracing the good, be good; getting to the truthful, be truthful; getting to the patient, be patient; when embarking on a human-loving one, be human-loving, and also be everything else, advancing the good-hearted, the benevolent, the sociable in good, the merciful of everyone, and if anything else is seen as divine, in all this being likened to arbitrariness, thereby dare to pray . Therefore, as it is impossible for an evil one to get used to the good and covered with unclean filth, to have communion with the pure and the unholy, so approaching God's philanthropy separates the hardheartedness from him. Therefore, who for debts keeps a man in his power and treats him cruelly, he tempted himself from God’s love of mankind. For what kind of fellowship does philanthropy have with atrocities, with a loving disposition with ferocity and with everything else that is opposite to evil, with the other side and in such implacable resistance to it, that a devotee must be removed from the opposite? As having become the prey of death, he is no longer alive and enjoying life is removed from death, so it is absolutely necessary for the humanity who is approaching God to be alien to any cruelty. And who has become alien to all that is understood under the name of vice, that is in some way according to such a likeness, is made by God, bringing to his own prestige what the mind recognizes about Divine nature.

St. Luke (Voyno-Yasenetsky)

About God's forgiveness of sins for believing

Listen to the very important and deep words of the Apostle Paul.

His words are not easily understood, and I consider it my duty to explain them to you. You will learn from them how infinitely the long-suffering and mercy of God towards us, sinful and disobedient, will see His omniscience.

So listen: “The retribution to the one who does the work is imputed not by grace, but by duty” (Romans 4: 4).

What do these words mean? They mean that everyone who does the things of God, the works of the righteous, the works of the saints, has a debtor to God; and in truth, in debt God gives him for his righteous deeds.

Listen further: “But to him who does not work, but who believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is imputed to righteousness” (Roman 4: 5).

The words “justifies the ungodly,” of course, cannot be understood as if the Lord God justifies, approves of the ungodly; believes that this should be the case. Of course not, no!

They only mean that they who do not do good deeds, who did not fulfill His commandments, consider the Lord to be His, to deserve to be His friends, to be close to Him, for the truth of their deep faith, forgiving them their sins in His mercy and long-suffering.

To better remember this, I will give you some examples from the lives of the saints.

In Luke the Evangelist we read about the myrrh-bearer Mary Magdalene, that our Lord Jesus Christ cast out seven demons from her (Luke 8: 2). If so many demons dwelt in her, then she was very sinful. However, for her fervent faith in the Lord Jesus, for her zealous preaching about Him, she was so perfectly justified by Him that she deserved the great name of the Equal-to-the-Apostles. I have forgiven, the Lord has forgiven her sins many for the ardor of her faith!

One of the greatest saints, Mary of Egypt in her youth led an extremely depraved life, but on the great feast of the Exaltation of the Cross of the Lord she experienced the greatest spiritual change that had changed her soul in the Jerusalem temple. And she went into the deserted Arabian desert, lived in it for 47 years the gravest life. And this great feat of hers, the feat of faith made her an angel in the flesh.

Blessed Jerome and Blessed Augustine, Bishop of Ipponsky, wrote about themselves that they had lived their youth very unclean; and Augustine even belonged to the Manichean heresy for several years. Nevertheless, their sins were forgiven by God, and by their holy lives and great theological writings they deserved the great name of the Fathers of the Church.

The priest-martyr Cyprian, Bishop of Carthage, was a pagan until he was 40 years old and lived in a depraved way, but after the great work of the saintly he received a martyr's crown shining with heavenly light.

Do you see how deeply the All-God knows the hidden recesses of the hearts of the saints?

Are the words of Apostle Paul clear to you now that God justifies the ungodly for faith?

And His immense mercy and long-suffering was revealed to us on three terrible robbers: Varvara, Patermufii and Moses Murine, stained with the blood of hundreds of people. We learn from their lives, how scary, how long, how relentlessly they repented of their murders and other sins, what terrible feats they carried during these years of repentance. And for him, for his repentance, immeasurable in depth and power, they were not only forgiven by God, but received even the gift of miracles.

Here are examples that should encourage all those who are despondent, all who think that God will not forgive them for their many sins. No no! Forgive, certainly forgive! There can be no doubt of this after what the Lord showed us on His great chosen ones, who were formerly sinners.

I hope that after all these examples you will deeply embrace the words of the Psalmist, the prophet David, with which he begins his psalm 31: “Blessed, leave behind them iniquity, and hide their greece. Blessed is the man, the Lord does not impute the Lord of sin … ”(Psalm 31: 1-2).

Be ye blessed by these words of the Psalmist David.

Be blessed, believing that the Lord will forgive you your sins for your faith.

Carefully reading the epistles of Paul the Apostle know how much he says in them about the great significance of faith for a Christian. But I think that some people are puzzled when they compare the words of Pavlov about faith with the words of the Apostle James in his catholic message: “… faith without works is dead” (James 2:20). But is it possible to think that there is a contradiction between the words of the two apostles of Christ?

No, it cannot, it cannot be. In order to eliminate any bewilderment, it is necessary to grasp what kind of faith – the complete, deep, perfect says the apostle Paul, and what kind of – a very imperfect, superficial faith, similar to the faith of those whom we call ritualists and goodies, says the apostle James. He speaks of the faith of those people whose piety is exhausted by going to church, church prayers, breathing in the aroma of the incense, listening to chants and observing rites.

Such an imperfect faith of which the apostle James speaks is very, very far from complete faith. He speaks of the straw faith, which burns easily with every misfortune, with every test. Этим людям с полным правом мог сказать апостол Иаков: «Покажи мне веру твою без дел твоих…»(Иак. 2, 18). А апостол Павел говорит о глубокой и истинной вере, которая перерождает человека, делает его близким Богу.

Об этом говорит так святой апостол Иоанн Богослов в своем первом соборном послании: «Всякий, рожденный от Бога, не делает греха, потому что семя Его пребывает в нем; и он не может грешить, потому что рожден от Бога» (1Ин. 3:9).

Помните же, все вы, слушающие меня, что безгранично милосердие и долготерпение Божие, и может Он восставить даже из большой глубины падений нравственных и простить вам все грехи ваши и воспламенить сердца ваши глубокой любовью к Нему, Создателю и Спасителю нашему.

Не рассчитывайте на бесконечное милосердие Божие, если не заслужите его своим покаянием, если не пройдете тесным путем, ведущим в Царство Божие, о котором говорит нам Спаситель наш.

Итак, надейтесь всем сердцем на то, что если оставите грехи ваши, если возлюбите всем сердцем своим Господа Иисуса Христа, то все грехи ваши, в которых будете неотступно каяться, простит Он вам.


Sum up

Что для вас оказалось важно в этих толкованиях? Какие мысли были новыми?
Что Вы вынесли для себя из размышления над прошением и притчей о немилосердном должнике, ответами на вопросы, чтения толкований?


Вспомните и выпишите в блокнот грехи и ошибки, за которые Вас простили люди и Бог. Каждый день в течение недели читайте этот список и благодарите Бога за то, что Он Вам простил всё это.

Если у вас осталась на кого-то обида, составьте список из этих людей и ситуаций, и ежедневно в течение недели молитесь за них, чтобы Бог их простил.

Материал подготовила Татьяна Зайцева,

редактор раздела Евангельских групп
write to: [email protected]

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