Jesus' Forgiveness

Why its so hard to forgive?

We have all experienced some degree of being mistreated, wronged or judged. The boss who belittles us, the friend who betrayed us, the lover who cheated on us...our automatic reaction is to reject, not forgive and never forget. Our grudges will forever block them out. They are dead to us.

Yet when we ourselves do any wrongs, we have our reasons to excuse our behavior and feel justified and somehow, we are always right. So we are no different than the people we resent. Someone hurts us so we hurt someone else. We are in denial if we don't believe that we have hurt people with our words and actions.

As followers of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins (and the sins of the world) we happily accept His all encompassing forgiveness. Yet we continue to condemn those who have wronged us, believing our judgment to be justified.

Jesus tells the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.“ At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’  The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.  He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’  “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.  When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’  In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” - Matthew 18:21-35

During His life on earth, Jesus hung out with all manner of people who were considered sinners.

"When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” - Matthew 9:11

Jesus even had forgiveness to those who were against Him, including those who demanded his crucifixion.

"Father, forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing." - Luke 23:34a

Jesus forgave those people that no one else could forgive. But how and why does He do it? How could He so easily just let them go scot-free? How can He justify their sin and behavior?

Scripture says "As it is written,"There is no one righteous, not even one." - Romans 3:10

Jesus forgives because He has only love for us and for the world. He created us and we are His children.

The key word is "children" as in....immature, not adult, not quite grown up.

Jesus has compared His people to children that He wishes to care for and protect.

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing." - Luke 13:34

We are His children who He loves unconditionally.

"Unconditional" meaning...whatever we do, no matter what we do, He knows and understands and continues to love us despite our failures.

It is the same love a mother has for her children. She may disapprove of their bad behavior, but her love for them never dies.

And Jesus sees each person differently than we do. Jesus knows the soul of each person and He has only love for each one of us whom He has masterfully created.

For you created my inmost being;
 you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
 your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

- Psalm 139: 13-16

And though some sins may be unforgivable, Jesus offers forgiveness to all who come to Him.

"Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool."

-Isaiah 1:18

We are as struggling children seeking our place in the world. He sees how our fear, heartbreak, suffering and abuse has harmed us. He also knows how these life events have made us lash out to pass our pain to others.

To Jesus, we are a work in progress still on our spiritual journey. Like a child we still have a whole lot of learning to do and we are all at different stages in our spiritual growth. He desires us to be more like Him, but some of us are way, way behind. So many of us are stunted, immature, untamed and rebellious. But His hope is for us to continue growing.

In his ministry Jesus asks the people to repent and come back to God. His plea is to change direction, away from following our own path and follow Him to walk in His Light. We have all spiritually failed in so many ways yet, He still has hope for us. Hope that we will come back to Him and do better tomorrow. That is why if a person who has sinned all his life, comes back to Him on the last day, Jesus will welcome him if his heart is truly repentant.

While on the cross Jesus forgave a confessed criminal who was on a cross next to Him.

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” - Luke 23: 39-43

So all the people who have hurt and harmed you, God still has hope for them just as He has hope for you. It might take years for some people who wronged you to come to God, but Jesus has hope. You may have no love for these persons, but Jesus does. And once we learn to forgive, that will radiate out healing for all of us.

So the next time a person commits an unforgivable sin against you, pray for that person and seek to forgive. This person may be acting out because someone else hurt them. This is the kind of person who needs forgiveness. Pray that their eyes will be opened to the love of Jesus who wants this person back. This is the person who needs Jesus' love.

It is His same love, patience and forgiveness, that He gave to you. All He asks, is that you extend that love, compassion and forgiveness to others.

 

© 2023 Edrick


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