Forgive them, Father

“When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”And they cast lots to divide his clothing.”

Luke 23:33-34 (NRSV)

I’ve had two dreams. Two very poignant dreams. 
They told me that those I blamed for creating my suffering were still my friends and comrades. We were on a flight together, our families, on our way to vacationing elsewhere. 

I scoffed at those dreams. 

It was far easier for me to believe I hated them, to be angry with them for what they did, than it was for me to fully admit to being angry at God. 

” Those who say, ‘I love God’, and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen.”

1 John 4:20 (NRSV)

The cold, hard truth: That God is Sovereign in ways that blow my little finite mind. 

If I love God, I cannot hate my brothers and sisters in Christ. And in fact, I do not truly hate them. I forgive them (finally, I can say this is true). It’s not their fault. 

It’s God’s fault. 

Here, God willingly takes the burden of all sin upon Himself– mine and their’s. Whether or not He holds them individually accountable, is not for me to know. God tells me: “this is MY doing. Hate ME, if you must.”

God knows, I’m not going to be able to muster hatred towards HIM. 

Anger? Yes. But hatred? 

No.

To wrap my head around a crucifixion being for my own, Eternal, good feels like nails being driven into my flesh. 

“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.”

Luke 22:42 (NRSV)

The most difficult phrase to utter, in any language, is:


“Not my will, but Yours.”


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5 thoughts on “Forgive them, Father

  1. Woo! Preach!

    I love to see someone fully embrace the beauty of God’s will to intentionally and purposefully bring about the crucifixion of His children.

    It is, of course, a difficult path to walk, and I don’t blame those who can’t accept a God who designs such a painful road for His children. It’s much easier to think in more traditional terms of some malevolent force being responsible for the pain in our lives and God “using” that evil for our good.

    But Jesus didn’t say, “Take this evil act that you clearly don’t want to happen because you love me and would never hurt your only begotten Son and redeem it for your glory.”

    Jesus said “Your will.”

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  2. All I can say is amen. Forgiveness is so hard. When I preach about that my approach is always to ask, “Does your struggle with forgiveness reflects a heart issue?” Has your heart not received, owned or believed that you are forgiven?

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    1. The human condition itself is a heart issue, lol!
      I think forgiveness– true forgiveness–when one has been victimized by abusive others, is only possible through the work of the Holy Spirit. It is not in us to truly let go of an affront or a wounding. Forgiveness is not a purely human endeavor, but a chance for Christ to enter fully into our struggle. Forgiveness that is not Divinely inspired, is not forgiveness at all.

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