Heidelbergian Children's Catechism (age 8- 10 years)
Lord's Day 51
The fifth petition says “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” Basically we are praying to God to forgive us our sins as we also want to forgive other people. We have often talked about the Lord Jesus. He was willing to be nailed on the cross for our sins. You believe that he did that for you, don’t you? However, if you do not ask Him for forgiveness, then you will not receive it. Nor do you receive forgiveness if you rattle off this prayer without thinking. But there is something else that needs to be said. Do you remember the story of the slave who had to pay a huge amount to his king? “Sir, I am sorry,” said the slave, “but I do not have that money.” The king answered, “No? Then I will sell you, your wife, and your children.” This was just like what Joseph’s brothers did when they sold him to those traders travelling to Egypt. “No, sir, please don’t do that,” the servant begged. The king took pity on him. And what did the king say to the slave? “You will be free and you don’t even need to pay me back what you owe me.” You also know the rest of the story. This happy slave who had been set free by the king met someone who owed him money and demanded to be paid back immediately. When the king heard what had happened, he said, “You evil servant! How could you do that? Now I will have you punished until you have paid everything.” And that was a lot! The story teaches us that if your own sins are forgiven, then you need to forgive the people that you are angry with. And do you know something? You can ask the Lord to help you forgive others. With God’s help you will be able to do it! At the same time you will know that your sins. too, are forgiven for Christ’s sake.