Six Words

In Luke 23 Jesus prayed, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

My pastor read this verse as part of a message on forgiveness last Sunday. The end of that statement is still sinking in. Actually, it’s been sinking in all week. Maybe because for the first time I “get” that Jesus prayed for those that were killing him. But not just any prayer. A prayer of compassion without a hint of revenge. No underlying motive, secretly hoping they would suffer because they made him suffer. Completely selfless.

Forgiveness. That word in itself holds strong emotions for almost everyone. God commands us to forgive. Commands. Us. I’m not sure about you, but that command seems terribly difficult at times.

Then I read the prayer of Jesus as he hung on the cross and I realized that he was fully human and forgave completely. He was completely innocent and knew it. If there has ever been anyone that could claim they were completely innocent, it would be Jesus. He was bullied, beat up, spit upon, made to carry a cross in front of a city that hated him, had thorns stuck in his head, had a sword stuck in his side and had nails pounded in his hands and feet.

Um, hello? Did he complain? Did he say he had a right to do so and so or talk bad about any of his accusers? Was he bitter? Did he try to manipulate others to be on his side?  Did he stand up for himself, defending his actions? No.

He could have and CHOSE not to. He chose. He chose forgiveness. He chose compassion. He chose to be quiet, although I’m sure he had plenty he could have said and honestly, had every right to say. But he didn’t. He chose silence. He chose to be different. He chose not to demand his way based on how he felt. He chose.

They know not what they do…

Amazing how six words can change your heart and mind. That’s what is so great about the Bible. I have heard and read those six words since I was little, and yet, this week they are changing the world as I’ve known it.