23 Jan Give the Gift of Forgiveness
Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. Luke 23:32-34
Jesus extends forgiveness to his executioners, as He cries out to His Father, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
This great statement reveals the heart of God to everyone of us.
His act of dying on the cross for our sins made it possible for all of us to come to Him and receive His forgiveness, grace and mercy. As we come to our Lord Jesus and receive Him as our Savior, He receives us, forgives us and begins to transform us into the people He originally intended for us to become. It is absolutely crucial for us to receive this gift of forgiveness because it’s the only way we can live in this world with the key to forgiving one another. There will often be times when we need to forgive one another, and the key ingredient in the ability to be gracious and extend ongoing forgiveness to others comes from a heart that’s been forgiven.
I have seen many lives that have been eaten up and destroyed by bitterness and unforgiveness. I am blessed to be in a position where I have learned well the gift of forgiveness through pastoring for the past 34 years.
There will always be people in our lives who will fail us, betray us or wrong us in some way. We all have the privilege and responsibility to extend forgiveness to the people who need it. Forgiveness is also for our own good. To harbor a grudge and bitter feelings will be toxic and will paralyze us from becoming the people of grace and mercy that God calls us to be. I am grateful to be reminded today that I need to forgive always, because I know how much I need to be forgiven.
Dear Lord, thank You for your great grace and mercy that You have shown me. Please forgive me for the times that I have failed You and gone my own way. Lord Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and help me to be a person who extends grace and forgiveness to others. Help me to be an instrument of wholeness that helps others to forgive and to work toward healing and restored relationships.