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'And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors'  (Matthew 6: 12)

by forgiving others we are able to receive our Father's forgiveness. And if we love our Father we must forgive, or how can we keep the second great commandment 'Thou shaft love thy neighbour as thyself.' We owe love to our neighbour, and in so far as we withhold it we are in debt to him. And, similarly, by withholding love he is in debt to us.

Here, then, is some of the importance of this passage of the prayer. It is really a prayer asking that we may keep the commandments of love, first to our Father and secondly to our neighbour.

Just as we forgive others their debt of love and kindness to us, our Father is able to forgive our lack of love to Him. It is the merciful who are able to receive mercy and likewise it is the forgiving who are able to receive forgiveness.

Our forgiving of others must be of the heart, as well as of the lips. It must be continuous and become a permanent attitude of mind. An aspect towards others that looks at their good qualities and wants to excuse their faults. We must learn to forgive seventy times seven. As we do so we shall know while we pray that our Father is forgiving us. We shall know that He is accepting the little love we give Him and excusing our shortcomings.

Sometimes our friends' debt may seem too big to forgive, but how do we stand before our Heavenly Father? As we forgive, He forgives.

'O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desirest me: shouldest not thou have had compassion on thy fellow servant, even as I had pity on thee?' (Matthew 18: 32, 33)

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