Palm Sunday – Forgiveness
33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. — Luke 23:33-34
There is a thought that sometimes runs through our minds when we have been wronged, one that, while we may not always admit it, can permeate our actions. When we are wronged, our response can often be revenge rather than forgiveness, for we want for that person the same hurt, betrayal, or abandonment that we feel in that particular moment.
While we often come around to a willingness to forgive, it can take a while. That while can turn into something longer for when we become both judge and jury in our mind, we are not far off from also desiring to take on the role of executioner. The legitimacy of the wrongdoing takes on its own life and we can feel the need to take care of it ourselves.
Contrast this with the words that Jesus utters on the cross, surrounded by people who not only wrongly accused Him, but put Him on a cross to die. Then, on each side of a sinless Savior were two criminals. There was plenty of blame, a deep need for repentance on behalf of those people. Jesus simply says, “forgive them.”
And then there is us. We helped to put Him there. Even as we did that with our sin, He is sure to forgive us…while we are still sinning! Rather than see than seeing us as we are—full of sin and brokenness—He is able to forgive and see us as who He’s made us to be. Put another way, we are not defined by what we’ve done or will do, but whose we are.
It can feel like we are surrounded by enemies, by those who want us to fail, by those who would like to strip us of anything good we have. This is a real thing, as we know Jesus endured far worse. What is even more true, more lasting, more fulfilling, though, is when we are able to look at those people through the same eyes that Jesus looks through at us and forgive them. Only then can we know peace when we are in those moments.