Forgiveness does not mean the violation of someone should be silenced or “swept under the rug” (just as was discussed in learning to bless our enemies in 5:43-48). In fact, forgiveness takes the offense so seriously that instead of seeking revenge, restoration is sought instead.
In the case of revenge or restoration, the violation is always taken seriously, but the problem is that for those who do not walk in forgiveness, the violation always leads to a personal prison for the victim.
Therefore, when we see “forgive us our debts” it is imperative to see this in the plural, communal language it is written. To “forgive us” is not only to ask for personal forgiveness, but it is literally to pray for the forgiveness of those who have violated us (and how we have violated others).
Yet, this petition is not as much prescriptive in nature as it is descriptive. It literally is a description that we will walk in forgiveness to the degree we have received His forgiveness.
This is a declaration of grace, not a burden that was meant to snap our necks.
So, I hope today that you would see the richness of this petition that Jesus calls us into. We not only pray for our own forgiveness when we learn from Jesus, but we pray for the restoration of those who have caused us deep pain.