By Leslie Blake

“Father forgive them……..”
Powerful words spoken by our dearest Lord Jesus as he was dying while upon the cross.

How…? How could He in the midst of pain & anguish, feeling the sting of mockery & abandonment, struggling to breathe & remain conscious……..how could He still request forgiveness for the very ones who did this to him?

The word forgive by definition is a “verb,” something that requires an action to complete; for something that does not require actual physical labor, it is oftentimes one of the hardest tasks to accomplish.

How often do we think about the word forgive? Really, truly think about it?

We say it every time we recite the Lord’s Prayer:  “And forgive us our trespasses…..” We are asking God to forgive us on a daily basis. In fact, we probably expect it. But do we follow through on the next line? “…As we forgive those who trespass against us.”  That’s much more difficult.

It’s easy to use the word loosely as we accidentally bump into somebody or are late for a lunch date, “Oh, please forgive me.” It’s easy to forgive the five-year-old who fibs about picking up his toys or takes an extra cookie; or the teenager who misses curfew. We are forgiven and we forgive because they are small, innocent violations, and chances are we are loved by or love the “offender.”

But what about the loved one who is caught cheating, or the addict who steals from you to get money for their next fix? Do we forgive? Do we forget? What about news reports of the child or animal abuser; the gunman storming into a school, etc.? How do we find forgiveness in our hearts them? How? And remember, somebody knows and loves these offenders! How do they forgive?!? How??? 

Father, forgive them ...
He does because they are his children just as we are. We are not judge & jury come the last day.  It is not our place to decide who should be worthy of forgiveness and who should not.

“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable,
because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” 
 -- C.S. Lewis

With the grace and mercy that Jesus showed us by dying for us, we are all able to start new.

Do not be confused with forgiving and forgetting -- they are two very distinctive actions. Forgiveness comes from the heart. It is okay not to forget; for our very safety it could be crucial not to forget. But it is very different than forgiving. We are not saying it is OK, whatever the transgression was; but we are letting go of it, and releasing its hold on us, and giving it to God. When you forgive, ask yourself, are you truly doing it for the sake of the act itself, to make amends between you, God, and the offender? Or are you simply doing it to ease your own conscience?

Google the word “forgiveness quotes” and a plethora of sites pop up ranging from Inspirational, Religious, Prayers, Quotes, Pinterest ideas, Definitions, etc. The Bible mentions it over and over; Jesus talked about it right up to his dying breath. It makes one pause and think that it’s pretty important. We cannot just be on the receiving end. We must learn not only to ask for forgiveness; we must learn to forgive ourselves; and we must forgive others.

Personally, I have been struggling with letting go of something for years, and one single line from the movie The Shack finally made me see things from a different perspective. I still have a little way to go in my personal journey, but this one simple movie helped me see what I had been seeking for a very long time. There are no accidents in God’s plan. It is good, and it is right!

Father forgive them…
He did.
Father forgive us…
He does.
Father heal my heart...
He will.

As we approach the holiest of weeks, remember the words of Jesus during his darkest moments. Every Easter morning, my heart sings with joy and my eyes are filled with tears – not only because of the miracle that is Easter, but because of the eternal promise that was made when Jesus asked God to forgive me.

God’s Blessings to you all.

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  2. Leslie, What a provocative posting. Thank you for sharing this during these last weeks of lent where we are seriously invited to continue reflecting on that which is both difficult and glorious in our lives.

    There are no accidents!!! In the Shack, forgiveness is explained very carefully as something that is done every day. When "Papa" describes that the path to forgiveness as a steady one, she is quick to point out that there is anger along the way.

    I believe that the true gift of forgiveness is in the spiritual and emotional growth we experience during an authentic healing process. God's hope for us is fulfilled when the offender repents, the survivor forgives, and both can willingly participate in the process. In the absence of this kind of full participation, forgiveness can take place... with adequate healing but it is not an event of immediacy. Forgiveness is not a magic path that can erase the soul's pain. Forgiveness is a slow transformational process which takes time and grit.

    And...lets not forget that Power is a part of the equation. My interpretation of the Lord's Prayer is that forgiveness flows from the most powerful – God – to the less powerful – children God. (for example, it is easy for a parent to forgive a 4 year old child who dismisses them, because they are more powerful. However, it is difficult for a child to forgive a parent who continues to dismiss their beloved child) Forgiveness, as a powerful gift from God is the ability living inside us to release us from something that will “eat us alive; that, will destroy our joy and our ability to love fully and openly.” (Papa)

    Thanks for the gentle reminder about this gift and hope. Marya+

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