Luke 23:33+34 (NIV) When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, 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.”
As Resurrection Sunday is before us, I couldn’t help but consider the act of forgiving since this is paramount to Jesus’ story and ours if the truth be told. If you live long enough, chances are you’ll be hurt by someone you counted on to be your friend. What do you do when you forgive someone who hurt you? What happens afterward? What should you expect it to do for you? What is forgiving?
The act of forgiving by itself, is a wonderfully simple act; but it always happens inside a storm of complex emotions. It is the toughest practice in the whole process of personal relationships for the child of God. If you are like me, you may let that hurt fester and grow until it quenches your joy. Hurt is the beginning stage of forgiving for all of us believe it or not!
I’m talking about the kind of hurt that you can hardly get over and it happens to all of us. Our scars may look superficial to others, but we know better after all, we’re the ones who feel them. We often feel hurt when the people we love have done us wrong in some manner. Jesus experienced this pain from His disciples who had abandoned Him, and those religious and political leaders who were responsible for His crucifixion. But in its essence, the miracle of healing happens when one person feels the pain and forgives the person who initiated the pain and caused the open wound.
Sisters and brothers we always face a crisis when somebody hurts us undeservedly. According to theologian Lewis B. Smedes “forgiving is love’s remedy to be used when we are hurtfully wronged by a person we trusted to treat us right”. At the end of the day there is clearly a distinction between suffering some kind of physical pain and suffering painful wrongs through relational matters.
Ultimately the issue here is; have you been “hurt enough to forgive” those who have hurt you? If so you are on your way to a place you have never been before in God. It’s going to feel like you are being crucified and you are. But you will live again just as Jesus did on Resurrection Sunday morning!