Thursday, October 10
Forgive them—over and over
Scripture: Nehemiah 3-4, Luke 23
Luke 23:34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”
Luke reports that they crucified Jesus and this was His initial response as they crucified Him. “Jesus was saying” is in the imperfect tense; this tense is used to describe an action that happened with no reference to its conclusion. In other words, Jesus said this more than once. We can imagine that as they drove the nail into His hand, Jesus prayed this; and as they drove the nail into His other hand, He prayed it again; and when they drove the nail into His feet, He prayed it again; and when they dropped the cross into the ground, He prayed it again. All through the agonizing experience of crucifixion, as each wave of searing pain wracked His body, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them.” Over and over.
Jesus is amazing! This is His response to hatred, torture and death—to forgive us. Over and over.
I was reminded again yesterday that hurt and bitterness are a heavy load to carry. When we refuse to forgive, we are only hurting ourselves. Of course people object that what the other person did was unforgivable, or they aren’t sorry. Both of these were true of the people who killed Jesus—but He forgave them anyway.
The image of Jesus forgiving over and over as they crucified Him reminds me to forgive quickly, forgive fully, forgive repeatedly. Don’t hang on to that hurt. Let it go!
Prayer: Lord, help me to be like You and forgive everyone every time, over and over.