Luke 23:34 “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing”. Jesus spoke these words when he was on cross, offering himself as an eternal sacrifice to redeem mankind from sin and the effects of sin.
Christ has left a model for us to follow to forgive those who have wronged us. Forgiveness is not inherent in human nature, in fact the moment we realize that we are being wronged, we are filled with revenge and anger to do the same to the offender. Christ has not called us to do the same but to forgive and pray.
Forgiveness doesn’t come easy but with great efforts. Being “Unforgivers” by nature, Anger and hurt are the first few emotions we experience when someone offends us. When hurt, we have a choice to make – either exercise patience or react abruptly. Patience, though hard, allows us to analyse the situation with a different mindset. We can never exercise Godly attributes without God’s peace that is actually available to us at any time. By getting away from the situation and letting the peace work through our mind, we prepare groundwork for Godly forgiveness to work in us and through us.
Jesus says in Matthew 5:44, “Pray for those who persecute you.” By choosing to pray for those who have done wrong to us, we allow God to control the situation. We feel free from the negative effects of unforgiveness the moment we have prayed for the offender. The matter is transferred from our own hands to the hands of the Lord, who is the true judge. And only He is able to change the mind of the offender through his own power that is above and beyond any human power.
A question might arise – What if the other person hasn’t forgiven you? The truth is that Christ has called us to follow Him without looking here and there. We are responsible for our own relation with the Lord without being carried away by who is doing what. Christ – the one who fills the forgiver with his won peace is able to bring a change in the life and attitudes of the offender at His own appointed time.
Forgiveness is not an option but a command from the Lord as written in Mark 11:25 “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins”.
Do you feel hurt and are filled with mixed emotions without a trace of peace in your life? Has someone wronged you and you feel burdened? This is the time to pray and ask God to allow his peace to flow through you, then pray for the person and forgive. Hard to do indeed but with God’s power all things are possible.