Even there, atop the hill and upon the cross at Calvary, hanging accused between two criminals – though He had done no wrong – even in the midst of agonizing pain and malicious mockery, Jesus thought not of Himself, but of those who were against Him, and did not yet know of His great love. He could have called down fire and destroyed His foes, yet instead, He called out to His Father in heaven to forgive them. To forgive us…
What a lofty standard He has set before us! Bless those who persecute? Ouch. His example demonstrates how forgiveness is a faithful and deliberate choice, not a feeling that is driven by emotion. It requires complete reliance on our Redeemer.
I have never endured the sort of savage persecution that our Savior was subjected to, but I do know how difficult it can be to forgive. For me, forgiving both foes and friends is far easier than forgiving myself for my own mistakes and failures. In my moments of madness, when my gaze has gone away from God and I find myself doing or saying something that is both detestable and disobedient to Daddy God, I am snapped speedily back into immediate recognition of my wrong-doing. I am usually quick to repent and request forgiveness from my Father and anyone else who may have been impacted by my bad behavior, but I tend to beat myself up for my regrettable wrongs long after it has been submitted to our Savior. I allow the shame to stay, rather than really recognize that His words cried out from the cross, were spoken for me.
We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) When we ask, He forgives. He remembers our sin no more. As humans however, perhaps our own memories do not fully fade so that we might remember how great is our redemption – not so we wallow in our own unrighteousness, but rather so we recognize and remember how remarkable our Redeemer.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that Your sacrifice redeems us from our every sin that we lay at Your feet. Teach us Father to not stay in the seat of shame, but to instead recognize and embrace the magnitude of Your magnificent mercy and the goodness of Your generous grace. Thank You for loving us just as we are, yet loving us too much to leave us stuck in sin or strapped in shame. Blessed are You Lord, in Your heavenly Name. Amen.
© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present