“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”
One of the hardest lessons for Christians is forgiveness. For some reason, we never seem to get it right all the time. Which makes sense since we are sinful human beings. My old pastor, Pastor Mueller, who I view as my Spiritual Father once said, “every day I have to drown my old man…but that sucker can swim.” How true that is, every day we have to put aside the old man and sinful flesh and strive to be the new man and new creation that Christ made us.
Forgiveness reigns at the heart of the Christian faith, with our Savior extending forgiveness even when He was dying on the cross. Yet we have difficulty forgiving in a traffic jam sitting in a nice heated or air conditioned vehicle. Jesus loved those who had nailed Him there, uttering a prayer asking His Father to forgive them. He didn’t hang on to bitterness or anger but showed grace and love to those who had wronged Him. He then asked us to do the same.
At times our nature leads us to lash out verbally to those who have slighted us or wronged us only little bit. Sometimes I have to ask myself, did they pierce my hands? Did they spit in my face and beat me bloody? Did they stab my side with a spear? Even so, I should forgive. We should strive to be like Christ in all things, and in all things, Christ forgave and instructed those around Him to forgive.
This is a fitting time to consider before the Lord any people we might need to forgive as we follow Jesus’s example in extending His love to those who hurt us. When we ask God through His Spirit to help us forgive, He will come to our aid—even if we take what we think is a long time to forgive. When we do, we are freed from the prison of unforgiveness.