Day 7 - February 23
WTS MDiv 2013, DMin 2020; WTS Associate Director of the Practice of Ministry and Mission
|Morning Theme Song:||bluegrass gospel songs played with a mandolin and a banjo, i.e. “Paul and Silas” by Flatt and Scruggs|
To Cancel a Debt
~ Matthew 6:7–15
This passage of Scripture from Matthew’s Gospel is one of the most repeated passages of scripture. We utter these words weekly in worship and or even daily. We know this passage as the Lord’s Prayer. It is the most common prayer of our faith. I have noticed that depending on what tradition you grew up in, you may say different words in the middle of the prayer. I grew up in a Baptist tradition where we asked for forgiveness of debts, yet currently I worship in a tradition which asks for forgiveness from trespasses. I think both are good words and I won’t argue translation issues (see another member of the Works family for that task) but I want to discuss the concept of REmittance of debts.
Jesus taught a parable about an unforgiving servant who had his debt cancelled and yet was unwilling to cancel a much smaller debt. Jesus in another Gospel also teaches about the shrewd manager who cancels debt. Today we live in a world of debt…. Countries owe massive amounts of debt to the World Bank, Americans on average owe more than $6000 in credit card debt, and then there are student loans which are crippling a whole generation of learners. Jesus reminds us that God has offered remittance of our debts and insists that we need to be a people willing to remit debts. It is interesting to note that this is not an optional requirement. Jesus is quite insistent, God has remitted our debts; we must remit the debts we owe others.
Reflection: What difference does it make that we say trespasses rather than debts when we pray the Lord’s Prayer? Would we be more conscience to advocate for debt cancellation if we said forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors on a weekly/daily basis?