And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. – Matthew 6:12
I bought a set of new tires that had a great warranty and a good deal on any required service. The warranty covered road hazard, free flat repair, free rotation, free rebalance and free checks. It was not until I returned home and read the entire warranty that I discovered the free tire rotations were not optional; if I did not return the car at the appointed intervals for these services, I lost more than the free service; the warranty itself was entirely voided.
At first I felt trapped. I had run over more than my fair share of roofing nails, so the free flat repair seemed especially important to me, but was it worth those “enforced” service visits? After a while, though, I remembered that the warranty on my car also requires that scheduled maintenance be done in order to keep that warranty in force. I did not mind that requirement because I realized the importance of proper maintenance to a car’s engine. After comparing the two, it started to make sense to me to protect my tire investment by observing the manufacturers’ specified maintenance.
While praying the Lord’s Prayer one day, it slowly dawned upon me that God has a warranty that also requires specific actions on our part in order to keep it valid on our behalf. In this prayer we ask for forgiveness for our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Matthew 6:14-15 states, “If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
God’s guarantee of everlasting life is an “iron-clad guarantee.” No power can pluck us out of God’s hand. He has, however, given us some responsibility for maintaining the validity of that guarantee. Realizing that forgiveness for myself depended upon my own forgiveness of others, and that this was an ongoing process, I reviewed in my mind to ascertain if there was anyone whom I had not forgiven; I wanted to make sure I was keeping my part of the deal. A new awareness of my responsibility for my own destiny settled upon me that day, and I now seek daily to stay with the “scheduled maintenance program.”
The requirements God gives us in His Word are truly for our own benefit. May we determine to comply with His guidelines, to ensure the maintenance of such a wonderful salvation.