The Lost Power of Forgiveness?

As I prepare for my Bible Study this evening, I come across these words from Christ, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). I quote Rev. Adam Hamilton as he describes these words as, “the most magnificent and majestic words ever uttered by a dying man.”[1] As I read this section, I was deeply moved. Here we have Jesus, scourged by the Romans, being mocked by a crowd, agonizing just to breathe, and yet Jesus musters up enough strength to pray over those who are persecuting him. While being the sacrificial lamb, the suffering servant, Jesus takes the form of high priest as he makes intercession to God on the behalf of those sinners who are persecuting him. What Love, What Grace, What power of Forgiveness could this be? I pause for a moment to question: “What does it mean to be forgiven?”, “What power is in these words from Christ as he delivers these words while on the cross?”, and “Have I forgotten the love my LORD has for me?”

What a joy and peace that encompasses a creator who forgives his creation for destroying all that the creator has made. And yet, it is in this forgiveness does God recreate what was once broken and destroyed. As a church, I question, “Where are we at being the called people who forgive rather than hold grudges?” Jesus called upon the Church, his followers, to be a light upon the hill, the salt of the earth, the lamp stand by which we are to be the exemplar community of forgiveness. And yet, it is often seen throughout many congregations the lost power of forgiveness when faith communities grumble and complain about observing a time weekly for communion with God. A time when we are to recall the power of a man’s dying agonizing words, “Father, forgive them.” This man, no stranger to the church, but the man is their acclaimed savior, LORD, and Master. And yet, in an act of what Jesus gave for us to remember who we are, and what God has done for us through his Grace, we have forgotten.  Oh how we have forgotten the severity of sin and the blessedness of forgiveness. As Martin Luther pointed out, every Sunday should be a celebration of a mini-Easter as we remember all that God does for us. And in doing so, may we rejoice! Be Glad! And be the Easter people that Christ has called us to be, to offer forgiveness before we offer vengeance. As we continue to embark into this Holy Week, may we continue to reflect and pause as we seek the face of God, rather than our own face.

[1] Hamilton, Adam 24 Hours That Changed the World, pg. 106

2 thoughts on “The Lost Power of Forgiveness?

    • I read the book last year, but did not have a study. I am really enjoying walking through this book in the study. We will be concluding our study next Wednesday with the last chapter.

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