Easter is one of my favorite times of the year. I have felt this way since childhood. I can remember living in Memphis rising early on Easter Sunday to attend Sunrise service. Hearing the many details in the Word of what Christ went through is mentally inconceivable to me; it is overwhelming. The insults He received, the anger, rage, betrayal, denial, false accusations...yet He forgave.
Fast forward, during the 2018 Resurrection messages on Cross Talks from my husband he preached a life changing message to me. Of course as a Christian I have been taught about forgiveness, I have struggled with forgiving painful offenses, and I am sure people have struggled with forgiving me. Forgiveness is not an attribute that comes easy to any person, yet it is required by Jesus thus making it supernatural.
When my husband began reading Luke 23, focusing on the thief on the cross I listened closely. The two men hanging on the cross, one on each side of Jesus are known as thieves, you and I as sinners. Two men hanging next to the King, the Savior, the Redeemer, and as Jesus goes through this grueling treatment, though innocent, innocent one of thieve's life is changed-saved through the power of forgiveness.
As my husband was preaching he stated Jesus models forgiveness for us with the first words He utters is "Father forgive them." But wait, it is not just one time and that is it. In Luke 23:33-34 says " When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Jesus most likely did not say it once and be done. No He modeled it for us every time they hurled an insult, mocked him, spit on him, He asked the Father to forgive them. As my husband elaborated on this and how we time and time again have to implement this action in our lives it was freeing. You see every time you think of the offense, every time the pain of it comes to mind, or you see the person; you must ask the Father to forgive them.
Many times people wound us not knowing what it will do us, and many times we wound people not knowing what it will do to them. When we say "oh they meant to do that, they knew what it would do to me", you and I are making that person(s) god in our lives. We are giving too much power and judging intentions. Making that judgement call puts us in a mode of retaliation, closed to forgiveness, moving us in self- protection mode.
When you and I can say Father forgive them for they know not what they do it is freeing, we can trust the Lord to deal with the offense and the offender. We can move on to healing, finding joy just as Jesus did on the cross. He knew all the insults, offenses, and betrayals could not keep Him from His God given destiny.
He was Intentional. Yes there would be a crucifixion but there would also be a magnificent resurrection. Let me encourage you Forgive as He taught us and go forth in your God ordained destiny!
Intentional Moments require Intentional Actions