Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34 ESV
Forgiveness. Forgiveness is tough for us because many times it means that we have to bestow grace without receiving any justice for pain that has been inflicted on us. Forgiveness says that we are most concerned with connection, not vindication and that’s hard.
In some of His last words before His death, Jesus gives us a great example of forgiveness and shows us yet again how to live connected. He’s just been beaten to a bloody pulp, forced to carry a heavy wooden beam, nailed to a cross and mocked the entire time. All of that pain was poured out on Him because of His identity. He hadn’t hurt anybody, on the contrary He healed people. He hadn’t lied or stolen, He had told the Truth and provided. Jesus was being His most authentic self and that terrified people so they killed Him. If anyone deserves to have righteous indignation and a strong need for vindication it’s Jesus.
But Jesus doesn’t get angry. He doesn’t scream from the cross curses at the Roman executors. He doesn’t pleasd His case on why they should take Him down. Instead, He speaks words of love, asking His Father to forgive them all. I can’t image having that much love in the midst of that much pain and the truth is, that’s our example.
The world can be a harsh place. The darkness can be so thick it’s hard to shine your light. Some situations can feel like there is simply no way you can forgive people and yet, if you follow Jesus your example is just that, forgiveness. No matter how wrong they are, no matter how much pain you’re in, seek forgiveness. Seek to forgive them and seek to do them no harm. It’s hard, sometimes it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do, and with God it is possible.
Here are a few other verses giving us guidance from Jesus on forgiveness:
* Luke 6:37, Luke 17:3-4
* Matthew 6:14-15, 18:21-22
* Mark 11:25