Father, Forgive Them
The Christian has never fully comprehended the power of forgiveness. If they had you wouldn’t hear remarks like, “I’ll forgive them, but I won’t forget it.” Folks, that isn’t forgiveness, that is bitterness. And bitterness does not come from God, but from Satan and is the root of unforgiveness. The scriptures teach us in [Matthew 6:14] “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” That is pretty plain English. If you want to be forgiven, forgive and forget. If you don’t forgive and forget, you will not be forgiven. We have all suffered hardship caused by another person, but that does not entitle us to hold unforgiveness in our hearts against them. Jesus exemplified this on the cross when He said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” [Luke 23:34] The “them” in this scripture is all-inclusive. It not only included the Roman soldier who drove the nails through His hands and feet, but the Jews who persecuted Him, the chief priest who cried out for His crucifixion, the Roman governor who gave the order for His crucifixion, the Roman soldier who stripped the hide from His back, placed the crown of thorns upon His brow, and made Him carry His own cross to Calvary. The “them” included everyone that ever did Him wrong. He set the precedence on forgiveness for His followers. If He could forgive “them” from the cross just minutes before His death; we can forgive our fellow-man for the little things they do to us.
Jesus said in [Matthew 5:43-48] “You have heard it was said, you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless them who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Here again, Jesus instructs the Christian on how to live a life that reflects the glory of our heavenly Father. God forgives and forgets, He doesn’t harbor unforgiveness in His heart. If He did, no one would be saved because each one of us deserves to die for our transgressions against Him.
What were the four things Jesus instructed us to do in this life? (1) Love your enemies. (2) Bless them who curse you. (3) Do good to those who hate you. (4) Pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you. Why? So that we may be sons of our Father in heaven. And then Jesus gives us the reason for His four directives, “Because He (God) makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” He continues, “If you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others?” (the unbeliever) “Do not even the tax collector do so?” (The tax collectors were the most hated of all Jews because they worked for the Roman government and collected more taxes than they were supposed to.)“Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” God has a perfect will for His children, and His will for us reflects His glory into this earth. If we do as He has instructed us, His glory will be seen by the unbeliever and lives will be drawn to Him.
If we do contrary to His Word and hate our enemies, curse them who curse us, do evil to those who hate us, speak evil of those who persecute us, God receives no glory from people who do such things, but Satan does because Satan is the author of these evil works. God demands His children live their life according to His principles so that His glory will be seen and lives will be changed. This is the Christian’s purpose for being, and God’s will for our life. As God is, we are to become. Jesus said it was possible when He said, “Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect.” If it were not possible for us to live a life of forgiveness, Jesus would not have given us such a directive. DThrash