We are continuing our fall blog series, “7 Must-Wins.” With a uniquely personal twist toward us as women, we will address seven topics that must be understood and walked out in order for us to have success in this life. If you missed Part 1 of this series, click here.
That may be one of the hardest things to say some days, much less do. Many times it’s so hard to even say that one simple word out loud. I am currently reading the book Lead Like Jesus. The author states that the opposite of forgiveness is judgment. I think I must have re-read that statement 10 times…the opposite of forgiveness is JUDGMENT??!!! Makes sense if you think about it. Forgiveness is very difficult for most of us, but judgment, well that comes pretty naturally….When we feel wronged by another, whether intentional or not, it is so much easier to judge them, isn’t it? We do it in a moment; it’s sadly often my first response.
In that moment it feels good, it feels necessary, it feels justified. Someone pushes my ‘bad mom’ button, my ‘bad friend’ button, my ‘bad wife’ button…well, BOOM, you’re getting judged by me, in my head, all by myself! How do you like them apples?? Well, the problem with those apples, is that they are all ours. Ours to carry, ours to hold, and eventually as all apples do, they rot. We are left with that feeling…rotten apples.
I was reading a verse the other day that I have probably read a hundred times, but for some reason on this particular day, it popped out at me in a way it never has before.
Luke 23:34, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Jesus said those words while hanging from a cross, after being beaten brutally beyond recognition by the very men he was now forgiving. He had been mocked, spat on, ridiculed. He said these words literally feeling the weight of all of humanity’s sin upon him. I can’t even imagine the pain He felt, the agony, the anguish. He knew what he was there to do. He knew why his Father had sent him. He knew his fate was to die so that we might live. He knew He was there to provide a way to forgiveness. He knew those men would have been forgiven, yet He chose to voice His forgiveness anyway. He chose to say those words out loud, not only for them to hear, but for any to hear.
Three incredibly powerful words…”Father, forgive them.”
I have never been beaten, I have never been publically mocked, I have never even been spat on (well, not intentionally anyway). I never have, and never will be, hung from a cross. I have felt embarrassed, I have felt less than, I have felt shame, I have felt unloved, I have felt forgotten, I have felt pain. But, to choose forgiveness, is to choose HIM!! It’s a choice. No one promised it would be easy or happen in a moment. And even to choose forgiveness doesn’t guarantee restoration in a relationship, but it does guarantee restoration in your heart.
So, when the choice is hard, and it seems impossible, I will remember those three words that changed my life forever.
”Father, forgive them.”
This post was written by Kristen Wright.