"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
"Unforgiveness is unforgiving. Forgiveness leads to freedom!" Have you ever been driving down the highway when, all of a sudden, someone cuts you off? It can be infuriating, and immediately we think, "How could that person do that to me? They knew exactly what they were doing, and they did it on purpose!" But if we were in the other person's car, we may have a completely different perspective. Often, when we are hurt, the person who hurt us has little understanding of the depth of what they did to us. While a highway infraction pales in comparison to what happened to Jesus at the cross, the principle of His prayer in today's verse is the same. And His example gives us a perspective we may have failed to have before. Jesus, at the most painful and vulnerable time of His life, extended forgiveness to those who were crucifying Him, which includes every one of us. Why? Because our sins are what put Him on the cross. Yet, while Jesus' prayer exposed our sin, it also expressed empathy for us. As you think about someone who has hurt you in the past, are you extending that same empathy by forgiving them? This week, stay committed to learning what it takes to live out Jesus' last words, "Father, forgive them...."
Take a moment to think about how Jesus felt in the moment He uttered the words in today's verse. Now think about some time in your own life that you have been hurt. Picture yourself face-to-face with the person who hurt you, and say Jesus' words to them as you choose forgiveness.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your forgiveness. As I look to the last words of Your Son, I am amazed by Your grace and mercy. Help me to reflect that in my own life as I do the work of forgiveness toward those who have hurt me. In Jesus' name, Amen.