It’s often said that if there are 10,000 steps between us and God, He will take 9,999 and leave one to us. We’ve spent 40 days allowing Him to move deeper into our hearts, souls, minds and efforts, and during Holy Week, we will respond by taking 1 step toward Him each day, and enter into something Jesus emulated during the week of His crucifixion.
Entering into Forgiveness:
“Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
Anyone who knows me personally would probably say that I’m not the most forgiving person they know. Those who know me better would also mention that I’ve held some grudges for more than 20 years with no intention on letting them go. I know I’m to forgive as I’ve been forgiven, so why is it so hard to do so? Why not just trust the transformative work of God I talked about in the entry on Justice and move on? When I really think about it, the anchor to my anger is knowing I was hurt intentionally. The intentional infliction of pain I endured as a child is something I’ve never been able to get past. I’ve tried forgiving as an act of obedience, holding my flesh down in the grace of God until it felt like I had drowned, but I never walked away a more forgiving person.
As I consider Jesus’ death, and the deliberate lengths the religious leaders took to kill him, I wonder what Jesus saw as he examined the crowd from that cross. With His lungs deflating, able to take in less and less air, his hands paralyzed while immense pain radiated down his arms, blood trickling into his eyes, what did he see as he looked over those openly mocking Him that enabled him to say, “Father, they don’t understand. Forgive them”?
Recently, I had a restorative prayer session, and when it began, I had a vision of me holding a large quill pen and Jesus handed me a pad of paper saying, “I’m going to show you things from my perspective.” As I looked out over certain things, I would draw them, and what was coming out on my paper was not what I was looking at. This was most apparent when I was being lead through forgiving my parents. I saw one of them, and drew them as a child, terrified, with an empty toolbox. Jesus said to me, “They are not playing a victim. They do not have what is necessary to be as you would like them.” I saw the other and drew them as though they were sitting on the floor against a wall, with their knees in their chest, head over their knees, darkened entirely. As I was praying out the words I was being lead through, my tongue literally twisted in my mouth, as if to say, “Nope, I’m not going to say that. I’m not going to admit that and acknowledge how badly that hurts.” I turned and looked at Jesus, who was looking at my drawing, his face filled with sorrow. He said to me, “Lisa, when the light in a person is darkness, how great is that darkness.” (Matthew 6:23) I understood this to mean they don’t have goodness in them to access, and they act out of the darkness they have filled themselves with.
In that moment, Jesus perspective changed everything. Seeing them through the same eyes that looked out over a crowd cheering his crucifixion, I was able to understand how he pardoned them, and was filled with grace to do the same. The weight of that intentional hurt lifted and something I have literally spent half of my life dealing with I walked away healed from, and filled with renewed love and measures of grace I never imagined having access to.
Today, we look at our anger against those we can’t seem to forgive through Jesus eyes. We consciously set aside the lens our hurt gives us and ask Jesus to give us his perspective not just on our pain, but on those who hurt us and allow him to fill us with the same grace he was overcome with, even on the cross.
What is your anchor that keeps you bound to unforgiveness?
How does looking at those who hurt you through Jesus eyes change the way you see them?
Consider who you need to forgive and what for, and then pray :
Lord Jesus, I come before you with hurt colored glasses and ask that you would exchange them for Your perspective. Show me the pain of my life and anchors to my unforgiveness through your eyes. Steady my heart as I bring up painful memories and fill me with your comfort as I let these judgements go. Amen.
Let the Lord walk you through seeing things from His perspective and forgiving whom you need to.