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Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing."
- Luke 23:34a
My heart aches every time I read that sentence. Jesus is nailed to the cross - beaten, bleeding, and dying, and what does He do? He asks God to forgive those who are doing this to Him! I can’t tell you how much that convicts me. Does it you, friend?
This simple, yet huge, statement reminds us of what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:44. Not only did He teach us to pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us, He also taught us to love our enemies. What a time in this world to be reminded of such a thing, too. There are so many boxes we put others into where we say if you don’t fit the box, we cannot be friends. Whether that be with your faith, parenting style, or way of life even. Then we become enemies, don’t associate with each other, and maybe even speak ill of another.
But what does Jesus remind us to do? Pray for them. Pray for them without ceasing because they know not what they do. This doesn’t mean if someone isn’t treating you properly you must be their friend. That is not the Gospel. We are called to pray for them because only God can change hearts. Then allow Him to help you forgive as He has forgiven you.
1 Peter 2:23 says, “He did not retaliate when he was insulted, nor threaten revenge when he suffered. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”
Friend, we must do the same. Whoever your enemy may be - remember that God is the One who always judges fairly. Pray for them to see their wrongdoing and repent (or turn) to the Lord. But also, pray for yourself. Ask the Lord to convict you if you are someone’s enemy. We are not above sinning because we are all sinners, but sometimes we can hurt someone more than we realized.
1. Is there someone who came to mind that may have hurt you? How can you pray for them today?
2. Is there someone who came to mind that you may have hurt? How can you repent today?
Heavenly Father, this is such a hard topic. As humans we don’t always want to forgive those who have wronged us, but Scripture calls us to. You call us to. So help me today to forgive those who have hurt me and give them to You. You know what is best, always. And Lord, this is harder to ask, but convict me of my wrongdoings so I may repent and seek forgiveness. I must learn to love my enemies. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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