“Father, forgive them,
for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
This statement from Jesus ought to have a dramatic impact on the way we live our lives, agree? Perhaps it loses impact because we just assume that Jesus is in a league of His own in the forgiveness arena; there’s no way we could match His grace. Or perhaps we see this as an example of how God forgives without realizing the implications it has for us. Meanwhile, we forgive those who are sorry for their sins – which does not describe the people who were crucifying Jesus at all – and we forgive those who haven’t hurt us too badly – which also does not describe these crucifiers. Somehow, we’ve confined our mercy to definitions that Jesus never embraced. Consequently, we’ve limited grace.
Think of the drama of Jesus’ statement. These aggressors are committing the ultimate crime: an unjust execution of the Holy One who created them. There has never been a more evil act. And yet, Jesus forgave them. And He did it without their asking. Without their even being remotely sorry.
Do you understand what that means for us? It means that those grudges we hold are horribly illegitimate. We will have to answer for them to The Savior of unlimited grace. We will have to explain why we accepted His painful blood-purchase while hardly lifting a finger for those who have hurt us. Or, if we’re wise, we can go ahead and try to understand the gospel better. We can realize that God’s kind of grace – which He expects us to emulate – is meant not just for insults and oversights, but for spouses who have betrayed spouses, for thieves who have bankrupted their victims, for traitors and rapists and killers. The infinite God has infinite grace.
That’s A Hard Truth To Embrace. We love it when it applies to us, but we just can’t accept it when it applies to those who have offended us deeply, violated our trust, or even killed our loved ones. If grace doesn’t go far enough to cover sins against finite humans, it can’t cover our sins against an infinite God. But thank God, it does. Thank God that He forgave us when we didn’t know what we were doing. And He enables us to do so for others.
Have a grace-filled weekend. Make it better by worshiping The Lord with those who know the enormous debt that He has paid and forgiven on their behalf, and they now live to mirror His grace in their relationships with others so that His words uttered from the Cross will echo today and forever.
“He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, The King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see, to Him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:15b-16)