Read: Luke 23:13-25, 32-34
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (v. 34)
This is one of the most astonishing and unsettling passages in the Gospels. Jesus, whom both Herod and Pilate deemed innocent, was executed alongside common criminals. And he forgave the very people who were murdering him, at the very moment they were driving nails into his hands and feet.
With those words, Jesus not only forgave the soldiers surrounding him, but he also forgave Herod and Pilate who revealed their true, callous motivations. He forgave the priests who demanded his death. He forgave the crowds who screamed for his blood. He forgave his disciples for abandoning him. He forgave you.
To live like Jesus, we must forgive like Jesus. This is a difficult concept to accept, and it is a difficult practice to employ. But with Jesus’ help, we can and must forgive. We are all created in God’s image, and we have the Holy Spirit to help us practice this compassionate act.
It is not a question of anyone deserving forgiveness; no one deserves it! That is the point of forgiveness. It is undeserved mercy and grace extended to someone to release them from guilt. Forgiveness removes the need for punishment and retribution. Forgiveness erases the debt, as if it never happened. God has forgiven you. Think about this. Who do you need to forgive? Who should you ask for forgiveness? —Susan Hetrick
Prayer: Father, through Jesus you forgave me. Help me forgive others.