Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Power to Forgive

"Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing...'" (Luke 23:34).

It has been said that to forgive is to serve eviction notice on one who has been living rent-free in your mind.  It's not so much that it frees them, but that it frees you.  As anyone who has lived in this world for longer than a day, it is complete with a roller-coaster array of trials and troubles and people who can be both the trial and the trouble!  It is inevitable that we will face times of hurt, rejection, betrayal, discouragement, and disappointment at the hands of those we hold or have held with close regard.  Of course the common sentiment in our culture is to get even, or "get first before you get got!" 

How interesting it is that we are so quick to dismiss psychics and clairvoyants as scam artist, yet we accuse those who have hurt us of knowing exactly what they've done to hurt us, how bad it hurt us, how they should have known what we'd think even though we haven't spoken, or or better yet, we assume what they know, what they did, and why.  We desire and are desperate to be forgiven for what we have done and how we have hurt others with the hopes that it can be let go and we can all move on, yet we, in return, hold on until we are certain that the offender is experiencing as much pain as they have inflicted, and with interest.

Think about this.  Jesus had been mutilated, humiliated, and was in the midst of being executed like that of a common criminal.  He had done exactly as the Father had asked.  He never once veered from the great plan that was essential for the redemption of all those that would seek it.  He had been the source of great truth, healing, provision, and life to many.  Instead of appreciation, He had received attitude, agony, and attack.  Now on the cross, Jesus had a choice to make.  Forgiveness isn't so much about what happens to you, but how you respond to what happens to you.  Rather than spewing "justified" curses down upon these offensive and obscene people, He pronounced forgiveness.  He declared that they did not fully understand what they were doing, thus clearing them with a pardon that would open the door for the redemption He was came to give.

How often have you allowed a bad moment turn into a bitter season?  How many times have you held a grudge, even if only for a minute because you were certain that someone else knew exactly what they were doing?  Have you ever been so sure as to accuse another, even within the secrecy of your own heart, of their premeditation in attacking you, offending you, or causing hurt to you?  Jesus forgave.  He didn't argue with them based on why they said what they said or did what they did.  The details that belabor conflict and controversy within relationships today didn't matter to Him.  He chose to forgive.  Choose today to forgive, to cast your hurts, cares, and offenses on Him who understands.  Ask Him to give you the strength to forgive, a strength that only exists in full surrender of all of our concerns to Him.  He is able.  His forgiveness with unleash a great power in you, and through you to forgive.

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