Matthew 6:12 says this; “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”
This reference to sin and forgiveness, in fact, is one reason some commenters dislike calling this passage the “Lord’s Prayer.” Strictly speaking, these are Jesus’ instructions on how to pray not something He was actually praying, Himself. More importantly, as one who was tempted but without sin the request made in the verse is one Jesus would never have prayed. What we call this passage doesn’t really matter; however, it’s worth remembering that the “Lord’s Prayer” is the Lord’s model for our prayers, not a prayer the Lord prayed.
The Greek word translated in the ESV as “debts” is opheilēmata, which most literally means a person’s “dues” or “obligations.” In practice, this refers to sins or “transgressions.” This phrasing would have been especially meaningful to Matthew, who at one point was a tax collector who made a living by coercing people to pay what they owed the Roman Empire.
This statement is meant both as both a request and a declaration. It asks God to forgive the one praying, and states the one praying has forgiven those who wronged them. Jesus is instructing believers to pray for forgiveness. He is also declaring the necessity of extending forgiveness to other people. Both are critical needs for every person: to be forgiven of sin by God and to follow God’s example by forgiving others.
Jesus will drive this point home again verses 14 & 15. The need to forgive others and the lack of forgiveness from the Father if you don’t forgive. That makes you think….doesn’t it?
Jesus came to earth to make it possible for those who trust in Him to be fully forgiven by God for their sins once and for all. He will do this by paying the price for sin, giving His life as the final blood sacrifice and then defeating death through His resurrection. Confronted with such a sacrifice, God’s expects born-again believers—who have received the unfathomable gift of forgiveness—will turn and forgive all who sin against them.
Forgiveness. Pass it on.