Luke 23:34 ~
“Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
The tears streamed down my cheeks, as I thought of the multitude of ways I had been hurt by another. I relived each intentional word and action that had cut me to my core.
"Father, how can I forgive them, when they so deliberately hurt me?"
The image of Jesus, hanging on a tree in agony, popped into my head. How could he forgive those who put him there? How could He forgive those who cursed at Him, spat at him, mocked him, beat him, and nailed his hands and feet to the rough wood?
I think the answer comes in the second part of his sentence, "They don't know what they are doing." Jesus understood that without his sacrifice, there would be no ability for me to forgive others when they hurt me. Without Christ's death and resurrection, I would not be able to see past my own pain and reach out to others. Without his willingness to be the sacrificial lamb, I would continue to wallow in self-pity, selfishness and sin.
When I look at my own sinfulness and the hurt I inflict on others, I begin to realize how much God has forgiven me. How can my response be anything less than forgiveness for others?
"Father, help me to forgive others because of the forgiveness you extend to me."
Just as Christ, spread wide his arms and hands on that cross and gave up his life, so I must spread wide my fists that want to clench those slights and hurtful words. As I opened my hands and arms and let the hurt go, I felt peace flood my mind.
"Father, thank you for your forgiveness."