As Jesus hung on the cross, after being found guilty of caring more about people than they actually cared for themselves, after being beaten for loving folk who lied on Him, after His wrists and legs were nailed for taking the majority of our suffering; through pain He mumbled these words in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Understand the magnitude of this verse. Jesus willingly asked His Father to forgive those who, through willful ignorance, would become His executioner. As pain traveled through the nerves within His body, He prayed for forgiveness of those who had forsaken Him. Jesus prayed for forgiveness of those who glorified in His blood being shed. Jesus asked for forgiveness of those who laughed as thorns were pushed through his skin. While they were shooting dice to divide His clothes, Jesus was using the last of the air from His lungs to ask for forgiveness of them. Oh but here we are, staying in the house with folk we will not even pray for. We share the same bed with folk we aren’t willing to forgive. We have the same DNA with folk we haven’t spoken too in years. We even attend the same worship service with folk we talk about in group texts. Father, forgive them.
Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Please Father, forgive those who don’t understand the heaviness of not forgiving. Forgive those who spitefully withhold forgiveness. Forgive them Father for still giving power to their abuser by lying with the hurt, pain and replay of the things they did. Forgive them Father for harboring resentment when you’ve given them the strength to release it. Forgive them Father for mishandling their gifts, over and over. Forgive them Father for taking advantage of your blessings even after you keep giving them. Father, forgive them because they didn’t know any better. Beloved, Jesus didn’t pray for their forgiveness because He had time to kill but Jesus did it due to who He is and to fulfill Old Testament prophecy. You, though, your forgiveness of those who don’t even recognize their need to be forgiven isn’t about them but it is because of whose you are and your ability to be obedient to God’s call on your life. Forgive them as your Father has forgiven you.