Do I really understand forgiveness?
Luke 23:34-35 NLT
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.”
When I feel that others have wronged me, am I seeking revenge, or am I begging the Lord to show them mercy?
Is my reaction to act like Cain did and slay them in retribution because of my own cold heart, or to have pity for their lost and misdirected and hardened hearts because of my own softened heart and my own closeness to God?
Far too often we let our emotions control us instead of being self controlled and disciplined and faithful to God. We are quick to let our circumstances dictate our attitudes and responses, forgetting that we should prioritize God and those things spiritual as more important than the occasions of this temporary world.
When we react to things in this temporary, physical world in ways that we know are not righteous and upright and in a manner that reflects and honors God – we are missing out on an opportunity to honor and glorify God, and we are instead focusing on the honor and respect we believe that we deserve from others. This idol of self is dangerous, and it leads us into all kinds of dark places with our thoughts, actions, and yes, even with our words – because it is not trusting God.
When we seek revenge instead of offering forgiveness, we are not trusting that God has put us in this situation as an opportunity for us to demonstrate His grace and mercy and love and forgiveness. When we seek revenge instead of faithfully acknowledging that this is a trial that we have Christ in us available as our strength to overcome any obstacle, we are dismissing and ignoring the promises of God and instead operating purely within the realm of what we can see, touch, taste, and hear – we are trapped in the physical, forgetting that God is in authority over all things.
How many times do we take the time to examine a situation and ask, “Is what I’m about to say going to glorify and honor God and be a witness of my faith in God?”
Versus how many times do my thoughts, actions, and words bear little resemblance to the Christ who I claim is my teacher and guide – of whom I am supposed to be being remolded into and my life is supposed to be reflecting.
Oh, we are a rebellious generation, with so many trying to use the name of Christ to claim an inheritance now that is not truly theirs at all – with the lies dripping from mouths like venom while their actions speak louder than our words as to the true state of our hearts.
Are we to simply continue crying out like a child, “Father forgive us, for we know not what we do.” when we should know better?
Or aren’t we meant to stand, to walk, to grow up, and become equipped, and to resist evil, and to trust in the Lord, and to see Him loving in us and through us as we remember our purpose – to glorify and honor the name of the Lord.
We can’t remain babes forever. We need to grow up. Our lives need to reflect the Christ who we claim is in us.