Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Luke 23:34 KJV)
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where it was hard to forgive someone(s)or something? I think that we have all been there. Even those who have forgiven and let go easily of offenses. Can find that it’s hard to forgive. If the perpetrator(s) cross certain boundaries. For example a parent losing a child through a senseless killing. That can be hard to forgive. Or being a survivor of rape or domestic violence. The world would consider those unforgivable offenses. We however, we’re not to take our cues from this world. Rather we are to take our cues from Jesus as he hung on the cross. If there was ever a time to hold on to bitterness and unforgiveness. Jesus on the cross was experiencing it. Here he was hanging in the midst of those who just nailed him to the cross. What does he do. Does he pray to his Father, Lord avenge me of my enemies. No, he does not. No he prays this instead. Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Honestly, I believe that this is one of the most powerful words that Jesus has spoken. These are the same words that have been swimming around in my thoughts for sometime now. I have been struggling with forgiving a certain situation. Jesus words on the cross now have a different meaning for me. Sometimes, people will do things to intentionally hurt us. When they nailed Jesus to the cross. It was with intentionality. His crying out to the Father to forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing. For Jesus it meant. Forgive them for they know not that they are crucifying the Messiah. For us however, it means Father, forgive them because they know not that their words and their actions. Would cause bitterness to rise in our hearts. They would have no idea that it would cause sleepless nights. Father forgive them because they have no idea that it would impact future relationships. Father forgive them because they had no idea how this would impact me. Two things about this scripture that caught my eye. Was one that Jesus didn’t say. Father, I forgive them. No, rather he said Father you forgive them. That doesn’t mean that we are not to forgive. It just shows us that if we can ask God to forgive them. That it will help us in forgiving. We typically don’t ask God to forgive others. When we are holding on to the offense(s) ourselves. The fact that Jesus prayed for the Father to forgive them. Showed us that he had let the offense go. Even as he hung from the cross. The second thing that the Holy Spirit brought to my attention in this verse. That it was after Jesus spoke these words. That they parted his raiment and cast lots. In other words they tore his clothing and then gambled for them. Right in his midst. This shows us that some people will be indifferent to the pain that they have inflicted. They can go on without an inch of remorse. Honestly, that can be the hardest to forgive. When that happens we take our cues from Jesus.
(14) For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: (15) But if you forgive not their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:14-15 KJV)
Do you know what I love about the above scripture? Is that it reminds us is that we too have trespasses. That we too have done things said things that have hurt others. Sometimes, it has even hurt God. This verse is very simple. If we forgive others for their wrongs against us. Then our heavenly will forgive us. If not then we are not forgiven. I had to learn something. It is easy for us to hold on to the offense when we see our selves as the “victim” We feel that we have the right to hold on to said offenses. Did you know that we are not always the wronged party. Sometimes, we are the ones who do the wrong. As, I was recently crying out to God to help me forgive because this person did this or that to me. He lovingly pointed out to me that someone(s) had to pray the same thing about me. Lord, help me to forgive Aqua, because she did this or she said that. She didn’t know the pain it caused. It makes me look at forgiveness differently. I would love to be forgiven by others for the wrongs that I have done. So, if that is what I want for me. Why not extend that same for those who trespass against me? If you are having trouble forgiving. God he understands that it can be hard letting go. Especially, when the offense cuts deep. That’s when we turn it over to him. He’s the only one who can fix it. Just yesterday, I cried over an offense. I thought I had forgiven. I admitted to him Lord, l want to forgive. It’s just hard. He knows that. That is why we turn it over to him. I learned that in my own strength. It is impossible, but when I (we) lean into God and lean on his strength and his sovereignty. That he gives us the grace to forgive not only others but ourselves as well. Forgiveness can truly be a journey of healing. However, the journey can only begin. When we take that first step. God will never ask us to do anything that would hurt us. Rather he is trying to make us more like Christ. Will you let him?