Jesus said, ‘Father forgive them, for they don’t know what they do’ (Luke 23:34).
Often the people who hurt us are not aware of the results of their action (or even inaction). It can be something small that upsets us but the pain can go very deep and emotional pain cuts us to the heart. It can be hurt that is physical and visible on the outside, or an injustice disturbing our mind and wounding our spirit. Maybe it’s the hurt of a broken relationship with someone close.
Sometimes there seems to be no way out, and nothing we can do but bear it.
But there is one glorious solution to this situation, and it may not be what we want to hear. This solution has incredible results. It’s forgiveness. Forgiveness is wonderfully healing and can release us from a ‘prison of pain’. Even in secular counselling today it’s being recognised that forgiveness has a powerful healing quality.
Jesus said, ‘Forgive them’. They may not deserve forgiveness, or ask to be forgiven, or even know that they need to be forgiven. But something, that holds us in to this painful situation is broken when we choose to forgive. Jesus is not asking us to do something impossible. He knows how hard it is.
Just asking him to make us ‘willing to be made willing to forgive’, may be the way to begin. He will help us little by little by the power of His Spirit in us. Corrie ten Boom explained that sometimes we have to forgive over and over again, every time the memory comes into our mind and the ache returns to our heart, and like the echo of a bell it will get lighter and softer until it stops. During World war 2 she was in a concentration camp and her book The Hiding Place tells how she was able to forgive in this way.
‘Then Peter came to him and asked, “Sir, how often should I forgive a brother who sins against me? Seven times?” “No!” Jesus replied, “seventy times seven!”’
(Matthew 18:21). We also need to forgive others in order to receive the Lord’s forgiveness ourselves. This is God’s way. And we can hide in Jesus until the storm is past. ‘I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until this storm as passed’ (Psalm 57:1).
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your mercy and forgiveness. I can’t fully understand Your grace, but I’m amazed by it. Help me to be willing to forgive as You forgive me, and to know Your great peace in my heart, in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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