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Friends in Christ Weekly Message
November 23, 2013

[NOTE: This message was originally published November 24, 2001.]
Jesus prayed, "Father, forgive them; they don't know what they're doing."
Luke 23:34 (Message*)

Jesus is referring here to the soldiers who nailed him to the cross. Crucifixion is a painful, drawn out way of executing someone. And, in this case, the execution was a response to a mob demand not a true finding of guilt in a capital crime. So this is about as big a thing to forgive people for that you could imagine.

Jesus did not just preach. He himself was the ultimate example. He showed us with his life how we should live.

When we feel someone has wronged us, we may be reluctant to forgive them. We may feel that what they did was too grevious to merit forgiveness. But Jesus never set a standard of how big the offense can be to forgive someone. By forgiving his own painful execution, he showed us that nothing is too big to forgive.

Jesus said, "they don't know what they're doing." Well, they knew they were nailing him to a cross. They knew they were causing him intense pain. And they knew they were making fun of him. But in the ultimate sense, they really didn't understand what they were doing. Can we also accept that those who harm us don't really understand what they're doing? Sometimes that's very hard to accept, but we need to give them the benefit of the doubt and do it anyway.

Lord, teach us to be forgiving people. No matter what is done to us, help us to follow your example of forgiveness. Transform us into images of you.

Bill Samuel

* The Message version © by Eugene H. Peterson.

©2001, 2013 Friends in Christ, Inc.

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Document last modified on Saturday, 30-Nov-2013 19:19:54 EST