Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” —Luke 23:34
We all have a story to tell. As you read this you may think it is impossible to forgive your unfaithful husband or wife. You may feel you cannot forgive your abusive parent. You may feel you cannot forgive what was done to your son or daughter. How can we forgive the church leader who took advantage of his position? What about the person who lied to us or about us, or the person who believed those lies? The list of potential offenses is endless. Often closer to home, there are relatives and former close friends who have become enemies.
People experience real pain when they or someone they love is hurt by another person. It is often harder to forgive when the one who has been hurt is someone you love deeply, especially your child. I find it much easier to forgive what people have said or done to me personally than what they say or do to my children.
But it is still very hard to forgive those who have hurt us directly, especially when they do not feel the slightest twinge of conscience.
But remember, at the foot of Jesus’ cross no one seemed so sorry. There was no justice at His “trial”—if you could even call it that.
What was Jesus’ response? “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). This must be our response as well.
Excerpted from Total Forgiveness (Charisma House, 2002).