While hanging and dying on his cross, Jesus turned to the criminal next to him and gave us a new paradigm for how to think about forgiveness.
“The thief on the cross had been (most probably) a brutal murderer in his days as a freedom fighter (from the Jewish point of view) and a terrorist (from Rome’s point of view). He admitted he was being justly punished for his crimes, but he turned to Christ in an amazing act of faith and received that gracious promise from the lips of the dying Saviour.”
Jesus forgave the criminal and promised that they’ll be together in paradise. And in his last breath from the cross, Jesus demonstrated other worldly forgiveness.
As we anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, who is it that we need to forgive? Jesus demands this of us, not because he needs us to. He requires this of us because he knows that we need to forgive others to live in the joy he desires for us. Living with the bitterness of resentment is like the saying goes, “its like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”.
Pray. Ask for God to intervene when its hard to forgive. Ask God to change your heart. He’ll work on the other person. That’s his job, not yours.
Excerpt from “The God I Don’t Understand: Reflections on Tough Questions of Faith” by Christopher J. H. Wright
[photo credit: woman with worth at wordpress dot com]