Friday, April 6, 2012

Father, Forgive Them

Luke 23:33-34  
 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

Even those who don't believe are familiar with the story.  Even those who don't believe have most likely seen a clip of a film, or heard reference to the brutal beatings and harsh treatment displayed to Jesus as he was led to the cross.  

He was beaten.
He was spit on.
He was ridiculed.
He was tortured.
He was humiliated.
He was a victim of false accusations.
    And yet in the middle of it all, he cried out: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.

Know not what they do? Seriously? They looked directly into the face of God-incarnate, and they had no idea what they were doing? How in the world could that BE? It certainly is hard for me to believe. On the surface it seems almost ridiculous.

I have mentally and spiritually chewed on this verse for several weeks.  Today is Good Friday.  Today is the day He was hung. Today is the day He said these words. Today these words hold healing and hope for me in a way they have never before.

In the last two years we have been blessed and supported in a million ways by friends, family and people we barely know.  But there is the other side. I,...we,...as a family, have also been hurt.  We have been hurt sometimes by circumstance, we have been hurt sometimes by family or friends, and we have been hurt sometimes by those we barely know. We have been judged, we have been misunderstood, and we have been let down.  On occasion we have even been abandoned. And I have harbored anger.  

It is not hard to know in my brain that the way people behave or react is about them, and not about me.  Yet it is extremely hard to know that in my heart.  I began to pray that I would respond to circumstance with compassion and mercy, instead of anger.  And what I was given was this verse.  

The dialogue went something like this:

Me: Ugh! Seriously!? (enter reoccurring or new anger at someone)

God: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. 

Me: Seriously? Forgive them? And because they do not know what they do? 

God: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. 

Me: You can't be for real.  How can they not know?  And so what if they don't!

God: Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.

The doctors?  Oh...so much anger at the doctors.  The ones who questioned me.  The ones that have not been trained in nutrition. The ones that had no real answers. The ones that made her sicker.  The ones that convinced me that chemicals and artificial 'food' was all she could eat. The ones that did the best they could with the information they had.  Oh, wait....their best.  They didn't know. 

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. 

Family who have no idea what FPIES is after 2 years. Friends who chose less friendship over more effort. Farmers who were not honest in what they fed their animals. Neighbors who only care about our lawn. Other FPIES moms who fling unkind words. Church leaders who tell us we are not welcome.

Just today we were treated poorly by a local farmer.  He did not understand we are not capable of dropping everything and meeting him with a moments notice. Again, I was angry. 

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. 

Can I choose that prayer and perspective? Can I let go of the hurt and insecurities that surround my new normal enough to extend grace to others?  Others who need the same things we need? Who need compassion, and love, and grace, and knowledge, and JESUS?  Not without help.

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. 

These words are freedom.   When I am making the best choices I can make, only to find out that they were not good enough or that they were wrong.  Then I can rest. I can rest in knowing that for ME He said those words. For ME He died.  That the One who walked on water and calmed the sea said those words for me.

Father, forgive her, for she does not know what she does.

Freedom.  Freedom from chemical food, and artificial ingredients, and disposable diapers.  Freedom from what my eyes choose not to see.  Freedom from past choices.  Freedom from hurts, and insecurities and things I can't change. Freedom from guilt.

Today is Good Friday. And on this Good GOOD Friday, I lay all of my anger, and fear, and disappointment, down at His feet,... knowing that He forgives me.

And there I am set free.

6 comments:

  1. Oh yes my friend SET FREE!! AMAZING LOVE, How CAN it BE???
    Not my quote, but a good one "I'm not perfect, but Jesus thinks I'm to die for"
    Beautifully written. Thank you for your honest heart, and the way you are such a help to others!! I wish I lived closer so we could enjoy many cups of coffee :)

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  2. Oh, friend. Thank you for sharing your heart and beautifully put words. In read it several times over and could, in many ways, insert my own name in those conversations with God. I am so thankful for that freedom we've been given and for friends who so unashamedly and boldly speak the truth.

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  3. Wow. SO true. Beautiful.

    I often think about Him in the garden - and am overwhelmed.

    Thinking of Him with this last profound statement is almost too much to bear isn't it.

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  4. I just saw this today! I love it....and I can so identify!

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