THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF JESUS: #1
“Father, Forgive Them….”
Luke 23:34 contains such powerful words and is full of grace! Jesus understood mankind and the blindness of our sinful state. He said,
“Forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
Most of us would take offence to such a notion. “Of course, we know what we are doing!” These were adults, leaders, and educated men Jesus was talking about. Yet, Jesus knew better. And full of compassion, He forgave them because of what He understood.
The Lord gave me this scripture many years ago when our children were young. I posted it over my bedroom doorframe, and it’s been there ever since. When I walk through, will I experience love and understanding? Or will it be bickering, self-preservation, accusation, anger, and selfish manipulation? I consider my home a safe place. But never knowing for sure what I will face, it remains my reminder. Jesus walked a road of love and grace that made room for error. He asks me to do the same. (Matt 11:28-29) In the workplace, at schools, and sometimes even within my family, at my home, “…They don’t realize…” Do you believe that? Jesus does!
I WAS DEVASTATED when I realized the greatness of my sinfulness and its impact on those I love dearly. I had begun to see the neediness of my family. But as God exposed patterns of sin, I could see that the neediness remained because of my failure in our relationships. I’d set out to be “the best…” you name it (a little OCD sometimes). Yet, I had failed. I failed to be there when some I love needed support. I failed to connect. I was often too busy with my plan to hear another’s heart. Yet, there was no shame in God’s rebuke because “I didn’t know!”
With good intentions, I desired the best. “I thought…” but I was wrong. I tried… but my efforts neglected to recognize the truth. I failed to connect. Regarding others as more important, that’s what Jesus did, to connect… all the way to the cross! I sobbed.
I now know these were tears of healing. In that moment of grace, I connected in faith. I was wrong, and it was ok. God gave me a new perspective, one in which I am not so confident as before. Yet it is a perspective in which I find rest. Because though I may not understand, God does. He goes before me, and His promises remain. For me. Today.
On that day, I understood that no one truly understands until God allows us to see ourselves as He sees us. And until such revelation, in sinfulness, relationships are broken even when we’re doing our best. We struggle for affirmation and value that is already ours because, in our failure, He paid the price.
Luke 23:34, Matt 11:28-29, Luke 23:26-47