And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do…” Luke 23:34a
Forgiveness is such an amazing thing. The forgiveness that Christ offers daily is even more so. In the midst of His crucifixion, He prayed, asking forgiveness to the men nailed Him to the cross, to the onlookers who mocked Him, the disciples who abandoned and betrayed Him, to all mankind, to you, to me…
Through excruciating pain, His focus was always on the people who He came to save, even as they were rejecting Him. His heart was always filled with mercy. His motivation was true love. His goal was a gift of grace that is immovable.
The English word “forgive” means simply to no longer feel angry or resentful towards someone for an offence, flaw, or mistake. But, looking deeper into the roots of that word has opened my heart in understanding of the depth of what forgiveness is.
“Forgive” comes from the Latin word “perdonare,” which means to give completely, without reservation. It is also the source of the word “pardon”, which is what Jesus did for me on the cross.
It also stems from Germanic roots which indicate a person giving up the desire or the power to punish. When Christ became the sacrifice for my sins and I accepted His gift, my Heavenly Father overturned the verdict of judgment for my sin, and chose to not use His power to punish me.
In Aramaic, the word “forgive” means to untie a knot. When the Lord forgave me, He released the tie of sin that held me captive. He broke the chains that imprisoned me and kept me from freedom.
The Hebrew words for “forgive” mean atonement, or the action of making amends for a wrong, lifting up, carrying, or taking away a burden, and to cover, cover over, or overspread. Christ’s blood offering covers me and covers over my sin, so that all God sees is His Son. He took away my burdens, lifting me up from the grave, to a place of redemption. He took my shame and paid the price for my sin, removing the debt that I owed.
The depth of love and compassion for me offered to me before I even came into the world is staggering. I am overwhelmed by the unwarranted gift of life, of freedom, of reconciliation that Jesus gave to me; and I am compelled by that grace and mercy to extend forgiveness to others, even when they know not what they do to me.
Yesappa, Thank You for Your forgiveness. Help me to forgive others as you forgive me. Protect my heart from being offended by the actions of others and help me not to cause offense. Give me Your heart of mercy, grace, and everlasting love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.