FORGIVENESS THAT ROCKS YOUR WORLD
Forgiveness is the action or process of releasing anger and resentment towards someone for an offence, a flaw, or a mistake. It is the cancellation of a debt. It is the excusing of ignorance or impoliteness. At its core, forgiveness is releasing someone else for the guilt they deserve. Forgiveness involves the will, mercy, and grace.
Forgiveness is hard.
Forgiveness is a gift from God that rocks our world.
Luke 23:33-34 says, “When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals– one on His right, the other on His left. 34 Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up His clothes by casting lots.” (NIV 1984)
IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE OTHER PERSON DOES
As Jesus is hanging on the cross, He prays to God the Father that God would forgive all those that had wronged Him. Let us not forget what Jesus was asking to be forgiven: plotting, betrayal, being falsely arrested, denial, punching, beatings, getting whipped, ridicule, false trial, and physically nailed to wood. Jesus still asks for forgiveness.
Why does He do that?
Jesus lets us in on a truth about forgiveness which is: Forgiveness needs to take place no matter what the other person has done. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what they did or said… forgiveness needs to happen. Forgiveness does not depend on the other person. Forgiveness does not depend on if the person has asked for it or not. Forgiveness does not depend on the sorrow or lack of sorrow of the other person.
Jesus shows us this truth by His actions in this passage, but this is not the only time this truth is expressed in the Bible. Jesus said in Matthew 6:14-15, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Jesus said it a different way in Matthew 18:33-35 when He said at the end of one of His parables, “’Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. 35 This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
Romans 12:18 says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
In this particular passage, Jesus asked for forgiveness and forgave the people around them and none of them cared. Do you want to know how I know that? Jesus prays about forgiveness and then the next phrase in the same verse says, “And they divided up His clothes by casting lots.” They continued to do as they wanted. They. Didn’t. Care.
You and I need to be people who forgive and it does not matter about the other person’s state of mind or their thoughts on the matter. This is one of the hardest parts about forgiveness because we feel like the other person should ask for it, feel some kind of remorse, or even deserve it. Forgiveness should happen even if it is never asked for, when there is no remorse, and the person definitely doesn’t deserve it.
That is a heavy thought.
That is a true thought.