Jesus came to earth to bring forgiveness to all, not just His friends. It’s not easy to grant forgiveness to those who cast an unforgiving profile is it? My friend, life’s a story, stayed tuned for more on This Passing Day.
When you were a kid there were two kinds of people in the world: those you liked and those you didn’t. What determined which was simply the degree of fault you were willing to tolerate in each. Friends, even those we liked, were people certainly capable of hurting us from time to time. Nonetheless, because of the special relationship we had with them, we were always willing to overlook the occasional slight in favor of a continuing friendship. Enemies, however, were those with whom we would not tolerate even the slightest of wrongs. Since we had little or nothing to do with them ordinarily, we forfeited nothing by maintaining an unforgiving spirit toward these people. In a sense, as children, we often were quite discriminating in how we chose to use the powerful tool called forgiveness.
It has been said “it’s easy to forgive the forgiven and to despise the despicable.” Both the act of forgiving and that of despising often fall on the same emotional level. Ultimately, we tend to find it as easy to display love as do rancor.
This is demonstrated graphically in a prayer I recently read that was uncovered from the horrors of the Ravensbruck
Nazi concentration camp. The prayer, found in the clothing of a dead child, says: “O Lord, remember not only the men and woman of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us. Instead, remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering, our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown from this trouble. When our persecutors come to be judged by you, let all of these fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness . . .” (author unknown.)
“Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” With these beautiful and simple words from the cross, our Savior demonstrated for all of us the foolishness of dividing friend and foe. Jesus could have said, “Father forgive Peter for denying me and my disciples for deserting me.” But, to include the Jews that falsely testified against him or the members of the Sanhedrin that called for his death? Certainly these were individuals worthy of scorn, not forgiveness. The fact is, however, that Jesus came to earth to bring forgiveness to all, not just His friends. It’s not easy to grant for- giveness to those who cast an unforgiving profile is it? How do we do it? There is only one way. Instead of thinking about the sin, think about the spiritual growth you will be granted each time you forgive those who don’t seem to deserve it. Let the fruits that are borne from the ills you have suffered be your compelling guide to glorify God when you forgive even those who despise or hurt you.
We pray. Heavenly Father, its easy to forgive those who are forgiveable. It’s hard to forgive those who in our estimation are not. Lord, our sinful nature tells us that some people deserve forgiveness and others don’t. This is not what our Savior taught and this is not what he lived. Forgive us Lord when we decide that degrees of sin require degrees of forgiveness. Remind us Lord that you are the judge of motive and not us. Help us to put others sins away from us and into your hands, leaving us only with the love of Christ to share with them. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
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