Forgiveness

And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.

Luke 23:33-34

This post is prompted by this study plan.

What is it like to watch your son, your brother, your leader, your friend be unjustly killed? How quickly would you forgive his murderers?

I haven’t had to answer this question. Unfortunately, many have. I don’t know if I have what it takes to forgive in such circumstances. I do know that Christ said we should forgive and set the example by forgiving his killers.

Forgiveness on a much smaller level is a necessary part of every relationship. We all screw up in all kinds of ways. Mistakes, little lies, things we forget. They all build up and can damage these relationships without a little forgiveness.

Of course, there are relationships somewhere in the middle – at some point all the screw ups amount to abuse. At what point do you break off the relationship? And can you forgive in such a situation?

I don’t think forgiveness requires submitting. It must involve making the choice to do what is right – to leave an abusive relationship, to fight an unjust situation in society. What does forgiveness mean in these situations? It means keeping yourself safe, but praying for those who are trying to hurt you. It means seeking justice, not retribution. It means showing kindness where the other showed pettiness.

Once again, there are many situations I have not experienced. I can’t say how I would handle these situations or what others should do. I do know Jesus told Peter to forgive his brother seventy times seven times. I know that He died to make all that is unjust just. I’m doing the little things I can to make that happen here and now and I pray that all the wrongs – the little and the big – will be righted sooner, rather than later.

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