Father, Forgive Them: Reflections on The Seven Last Words Part 1

Maarten van Heemskerck, 1550

Maarten van Heemskerck, 1550

 

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”-Luke 23:34

Whenever I heard this particular verse from the Passion narrative, I always wondered if someone snarked “We know exactly what we’re doing.”  In the eyes of the Romans, they were eliminating a threat to the peace. In the eyes of the Pharisees, they were helping to eliminate a blasphemer, a false prophet. John 18:14 says “Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was better to have one person die for the people.”

But I don’t think they really knew what they were doing. If they were aware of the fact that they were condemning an innocent man to death, that their Messiah was right in front of them…I think they would be like me and volunteer to take Jesus’s place on the Cross.

I don’t think I can undergo what Jesus went through on the road to Calvary. But the fact that He willingly went through all of it so that humanity can be reunited with its Creator compels me to thank Him and to ask for his mercy.

I often said before that forgiveness often seems like something unimaginable to do. It took me a long time for me to let go of all the pain and anger I held towards those who’ve hurt me. It’s an ongoing process and you never know how much you’ve let go until you look back and realize how little weight you’re carrying.

When I think about those who have hurt me, I don’t see them as evil monsters the way I used to. I realize now that they were all broken in some way and that instead of trying to work through the pain, they instead chose to break me. But they didn’t know what they were doing. I think that the pain they inflicted upon me was not deliberate, but just a symptom of some larger problem they had that I couldn’t fix. It’s why now I pray that they will become aware of that pain and try to find healing in God’s mercy.

Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.

 

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