“And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’” Luke 23:34
This Sunday, guest pastor Rich Perez shared in our ONE series where he encouraged us to entangle our lives in the Father's love. On the cross, Jesus gives us insight into the heart of God: that when we’re offended or find disharmony amongst us, we’re not simply called to be courteous but to love. In ten words, Christ shows us that love demands far more of our death than courtesy.
FATHER FORGIVE THEM // Tara Mikes
In my life, ‘forgiveness’ has so often come because I felt as if the wrong-doer had finally paid their dues. Often I decide that I’ve held the grudge for a sufficient amount of time so I forgive them out of the “graciousness of my heart,” releasing them from what I have been holding over their head. But that isn’t authentic. That’s self-motivated, creating a sense of power in myself. Some of us forgive others because we feel guilty for holding onto an offense – in which case the forgiveness is actually given in order to release us from our own guilt. That’s also self-motivated, because there is a self-serving end-goal.
True forgiveness, that is not bathed in self-righteousness, can only come from the love of the Father; the example He gave us in His self-sacrifice, on display in front of all people, openly projecting his vulnerability to enemy and intimate friend alike. All were one. Jesus lived out perfect love for all those in attendance – unadulterated and uniformly – as He cried out to the Heavens, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
This plea of desperation also crossed the lips of our savior with you and I racing through His mind. He saw us all the same – errant children hurting the heart of their Father in their rebellion. He did not give His love just to those who loved Him. He gave his life for those who hated Him—for those who thought they were robbing Him of pulpit and living breath. When in actuality, He presented to them atop a silver platter the very sacrifice they needed in order to attain the only thing their hearts had ever truly desired. He gave up His pride and self-love for the glory of His enemies. So that they—and you and I—would have the chance to encounter the agape love of our Father.