"Father, forgive them, they know not what they do." Luke 23:34
When children we love lash out at us in anger, we are quick to seek its source: trouble at home; a learning difference; social anxiety. Our love looks beyond the behavior to the heart, and we pray, "Father, forgive. They don't know what they're doing."
This is a snapshot of how Christ loves us. His focus is on our hearts, and his message, even in the horror of his crucifixion, is God's forgiveness.
As God's children, we believe that being forgiven and extending forgiveness are two sides of the Christian coin. We speak of it often—so often, in fact, that we can lose sight of its significance. CS Lewis said, "Real belief in [forgiveness] is the sort of thing that easily slips away if we don't keep polishing it up."
Lent is the time for polishing. In the days ahead, may we consider God's forgiveness of us and with grateful hearts extend our forgiveness to others.
Question for further reflection:
How does your experience of forgiveness affect your ability to extend it to others?
Gracious God, by your Spirit, help us practice these words from St. Paul: "Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." In Jesus' name, Amen.
Contributed by Ann Primus Berends