"Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know what they do”
Luke 23 v.34
For me, those are some of the most dramatic words in the Bible. If I’m quiet and think back to watching The Greatest Story Ever Told, Passion of the Christ, or the live Passion Play in Oberammergau, Germany, I hear Jesus crying out “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”. Jesus asked his Father to forgive his persecutors, even though he was being crucified, nails driven through his palms, people mocking him and vinegar being pressed to his lips.
If Jesus can ask his father to forgive those doing these despicable acts to his ‘only Son’, why is it difficult for us to ask for or give forgiveness…whether it be to God, our family, a friend, or a fellow church member?
During this past Christmas, I was in the hospital for nine days in isolation and couldn’t have visitors. While many of you were attending Christmas Eve service at our church, I was undergoing a lengthy medical test. To take my mind off the pain, I prayed to God, asking for forgiveness for feeling sorry for myself, for asking the question “why me…why do I have to be away from family, friends and church during such a meaningful and inspirational time?”. I didn’t receive an answer for “why me?” but I did feel more peaceful knowing God forgave me for blaming him and questioning him about my circumstances. How do I know God forgave me? The Bible tells me so!
As we journey through the darkness of Good Friday and prepare for Christ’s resurrection, I invite you to join me, reflecting on people we need to forgive and those whom we need to ask forgiveness. It is not an easy task. But, I believe joy and peace can only come through a forgiving heart.
This Easter season can be more meaningful by making forgiveness a key component. Before ‘sun rise’ on Easter morn give someone a call, stop by their house or send a message letting them know “I forgive”.
Thank you for being a forgiving God. Give me courage to forgive people in my life whom I need to forgive. I know it won’t be easy, but I also know with you by my side, I can forgive.