Then Jesus said, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” – Luke 23:34
I’m working with a couple of kids who have an unbelievable amount of unforgiveness in their hearts. I’m not saying it isn’t deserved, but I’m watching it deteriorate these two right before own eyes. I imagine if they hold onto this unforgiveness in their hearts, their lives will be destroyed in the next 3 to 10 years.
Here is the thing though: as I’ve been talking to them about forgiving, I’m realizing that I have a tremendous amount of unforgiveness in my own heart. I don’t think about it daily like they do, but when I do think about it, this darkness just enters me that I hate. I wish I could say that I recognize it immediately, but I don’t. It takes a while for me to realize what is happening. Then, I forgive, and the light comes flooding in. If it is this difficult for me, I can only imagine how difficult it is for them. What has been done to them is easily 10x worse than what was done to me.
As I was thinking about this, my mind went to the first words that Jesus spoke on the cross. Nobody was asking for forgiveness, yet that is what He gave. I like to think that Jesus, like I tend to do sometimes, simply was thinking about all the wrongs being done to Him for no valid reason other than jealousy. The dark clouds might have been forming over Him for the past several hours and He might have even thought for a moment about what He could do to them if He wanted to. But, instead of allowing that dark place to enter His heart and mind, He simply said, “Father, forgive them for they have no clue what they are doing.” I’m doing it from a rocking chair in front of a heater years later . . . He did it immediately after being freshly nailed to a cross.
So, one more time this morning, I offer my prayer of forgiveness to those who have wronged me. It really isn’t all that difficult when I think of the people I have wronged. I sure do need forgiveness . . . how can I not offer it? When all that unforgiveness is lying right here beside me and I look at it, it seems so stupid that such a little thing can wreak such havoc when it is inside of me. No wonder the Lord got rid of it at once.
Lord, You have freely forgiven me . . . help me freely forgive. I want my light to so shine before men, but that is an impossibility when I hold unforgiveness in my heart. I go months now without thinking about it, so I know that You are at work and are truly helping me to lay it all down. Let this be the last time. Let it be the last time because I truly think of it no more. I pray for my enemies . . . may You bless them ever so richly, Lord. I truly believe they simply didn’t know what they were doing. Give them hearts that want to serve You and Your purpose from this day forward. Give them eyes to see as You see. May I never bring it up again. Help me be like You. Please make me more and more like You. Amen