I’ve totally broken vacation mode in favor of reflecting on Easter. This will be a 5 post week, but worry not I won’t suffocate you with this many posts next week.
Because of our understanding of salvation we have a certain process instated for matters of forgiveness.
Forgiveness is the most scandalous part of Jesus’ message. God doesn’t want me to pay for my sins? FANTASTIC! But wait, God isn’t going to make that guy pay for his? But…. he….. not after what he did….
It’s easy to forgive a friend who said something rude to you – but God actually wants us to love AND pray for our enemies, and he actually wants us to forgive those who wrong us – even if that means deeply wronged us. As in manipulated us. As in scarred us.
Jesus famously says as he’s been crucified “forgive them for they know not what they do.” Jesus is forgiving them as they are committing the wrong. There is no waiting period so the wrong doer can come around and asks for forgiveness from the victim – the forgiveness is granted immediately, without request.
We think we can forgive someone who’s wronged us if they’ve asked for it – but Jesus doesn’t wait for them to want it – he starts the process right then.
It’s not a tactic or ploy – I don’t believe Jesus said it as a way to stop the madness. They still end up killing him. So there is no ulterior motive – he’s simply forgiving them.
I can’t get over how huge this is – that Jesus started the process of forgiveness first. And isn’t this what Christians believe? That Jesus first died on the cross so that we could be forgiven when we repent? So why do we hold so many grudges? Why do we freak out so much? Sorry to violate my own rule here, but our process of forgiveness should have already begun.
I think our understanding of salvation has messed with our understanding here, at the risk of sounding controversial. We are forgiven when we repent, yet we are taught to simply forgive. To make peace, even if it’s in our own heart. But, as I said, this is what it’s all about.
It’s great if someone forgives who’s wronged them. They don’t have to do that, so it’s a beautiful thing when that that forgiveness is offered. But forgiving even as the wrong is happening – that’s holy.
Part one of my Easter series.