Lent – Day 21
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
Have you ever experienced a situation where you have to spend time or work with someone who is difficult to get along with?
Someone has hurt you in so many ways that it actually affects your character. While we’re responsible for our own character, the effect others have on us develops our character. For example, if you’ve experienced abuse, you may be distrustful. Maybe you have a competitive personality and it has left wounds on your soul. Sometimes, you wonder if they hurt you intentionally or if it’s just second-nature for them.
Jesus, hanging on the cross, looked down and saw soldiers — the ones who had beaten and ridiculed Him and who nailed His hands to the beam. They were gambling to see who could get His only possessions: His worn out clothes.
In that moment, Jesus’ character — who He was at His core — rose above unimaginable pain. Seeing beyond the rough exterior of foreign, dirty soldiers, Jesus peered deep into their souls. He saw their pain from the past. He also saw their pain in the future. It all hinged on His forgiveness.
Would He be able to forgive these men? Would He be able to take on the sin of not only these people but of all mankind? Would He take on my sin?
Even in His weakened and vulnerable state, Jesus did not give into anger, self-centeredness, self-righteousness or revenge.
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing,” he pleaded, requesting forgiveness from His Father, who had the power to rain fire on the soldiers.
In that moment of human weakness, Jesus didn’t sin. He selflessly laid down His rights to grant others something they didn’t deserve: forgiveness.
If you have been hurt so deeply that you still struggle to forgive? Please hear me. That is fair yet an unhealthy thing in the long run. But just as Christ forgives me and those soldiers, we have the choice to look at the person who hurts us and pray, “Father, forgive them, for they really don’t know what they are doing.”
Reflect and Pray
Who is the person you struggle to forgive? Why?
What is a past situation or harm that is difficult for you to forgive?
What is something Jesus has forgiven you for?
Pray that Jesus will give you the grace to forgive your difficult person, just as He has forgiven you.