Thursday, April 2, 2020
People hurt us. We hurt people. We are much more likely to focus on the first of those truths rather than the second. In fact, we even dare to justify our hurt of others because they hurt us first.
Some hurts go deep, and last a long time. Forgiveness and reconciliation become distant ideologies because the root of bitterness as become a towering tree under which we find shelter. Why would I possibly want to forgive the person who did something so horrible to me?
This first of seven sayings of Jesus from the cross shows that He was thinking of others until the end of His life.
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).
Even while experiencing the horrible pain of crucifixion, He was praying for the very people who caused His suffering. He came to earth for the purpose of forgiving sinners and He loved them and forgave them up until the end.
Isaiah prophesied these words of Jesus on the cross.
Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12
The great thing which Christ died to purchase and procure for us is the forgiveness of sin. It was His heart of love for sinners that brought Him to the cross. Forgiveness is the foundation of Christ’s intercession for us. His shed blood on the cross speaks this: Father, forgive them. The greatest sinners may, through Christ, upon their repentance, find mercy.
His intercession for sinners includes the fact that we are ignorant of His eternal plan. “They know not what they are doing.” We must pray for our enemies and those that hate and persecute us in the same way. We must exonerate their offences, and not aggravate them. We must be sincere with God in prayer for the forgiveness of their sins, their sins against us. This is Christ’s example even while suffering the immediate effects of their judgment. If Christ loved and prayed for such enemies, what enemies can we have that we are not obliged to love and pray for?
So today, begin this way:
- Come to the Father with your pain.
- Ask the Father for the grace and mercy of Christ to forgive others.
- Bring the one who caused your pain to the Father.
- Ask the Father to forgive them.
- Go and do an act of kindness for that person, showing them the love of Jesus who sacrificed His life as an act of kindness for us.