Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
How do you forgive someone as they are hanging you on a cross? How do you express empathy to someone who is in the process of abusing you? How do you embrace a colleague or a friend or a family member who makes a habit of maligning you behind your back? This moment of crucifixion and forgiveness is when it becomes abundantly clear that Jesus is Lord and we are not. Jesus is able to do something that most of us—perhaps all of us—would be unable to do. But perhaps the point of the story is not about what we should or shouldn’t be able to do. This story is about Jesus and His capacity to forgive. If He can forgive Roman centurions pounding nails through His flesh and bone, then He can forgive us. What a gift. We crucify Christ anew every time we injure or malign or disregard other people…and Jesus is prepared to forgive us before we even ask for pardon. Jesus looks at us and understands how ignorant we are…but loves us still, even when our sins are so painfully evident. Jesus’ forgiveness must be a sign that there is hope. Hope that we can turn from our sinful ways. Hope that one day love and compassion will prevail. Hope for the world!
Can you forgive and accept forgiveness?
Lord, I cannot comprehend the kind of forgiveness Jesus extended to His torturers and executioners. How is such an act possible? Like so many things, what is impossible for us is possible for You. You are our hope. Thank You. Help me to be a bit more forgiving the next time I am injured. In Jesus’ name, I pray. AMEN.