Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
By: Carol McClain @carol_mcclain
Author's note: If you've experienced severe trauma like incest, rape, murder, or other egregious harms, please see a counselor. Still, the path to YOUR healing is forgiveness.
Jesus Showed the Ultimate Example
Jesus was the quintessential perfect man. Still, having done no wrong, the Jewish elite betrayed him. The Romans brutalized him. Once hung to die, they mocked him and gambled for His clothes.
How did Jesus respond? "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."
If He gave such a response, how much more should we?
I'll forgive, but I'll never forget
How many times have either we said, "I'll forgive, but I'll never forget"? or heard another person speak the line? In truth, forgiveness brings forgetfulness. I can attest to the truth of this through many crises in my life.
For example, a particular church I attended years ago had hurt me severely. For the most part, now, I can only remember the fact of the hurt. Specific details of all my wounds have been buried with Christ.
But a composite tale goes something like this: We believed in prophecy, and I'd been told repeatedly that I'd sing the song of the Lord. I'd been taking voice lessons, so I asked to join the music team. Anyone who knows my nuclear family knows the music gene hid from us from the moment of conception. However, in this case, my heart was pure. I needed to figure out how to sing in public if I'd see the word of God come to pass.
Things went well until the sound man turned off my mic.
I got mad. Talked to him, one on one. And to my mind, that was it.
One day I was called into the pastor's office. Once there, I discovered, this wasn't a friendly visit, a pat on the back, a "I'm proud of you for being such a big girl doing everything in your power to fulfill the word of the Lord."
The sound man also had been summoned, and both the pastor and he chastised me for being insulted. A few days later, the music minister kicked me off worship.
I only remember this because I use the illustration to either poke fun at myself or to explain a typical reason why this church and I weren't a good fit.
However, at that time, anger and grief and shame and indignation and all those wonderful works of the flesh rose up in me.
When you forgive--you forget
I told the Lord, "I forgive."
And clearly He spoke to me, "If you truly forgave, then why do you keep rehashing it?"
From that point on, I began to work hard at forgiveness.
Through time, the pain and insult dissipated.
How? You know I'm glad you asked. Next week I'll give you some ways to do just that.
In this instant, I found the wrongs done to me vanished from my memory. It's held true in my relationship with this body of believers, in forgiveness of my father, in the pardon toward dear friends who have remained friends and not become enemies. My husband, in my memory, has never done me wrong because any hurts he's caused have been forgiven.