A woman in my writers’ group is penning a book that contains heart wrenching stories about people who have been wronged by loved ones. Many would call the treatment unforgivable and it made me ask, “Is there any wrong that should not be forgiven?”
My first thought is “yes.” How can you forgive someone who murdered a loved one or a family member who sexually assaulted your child? What about a spouse who was unfaithful? We can’t be expected to give grace for a betrayal like that!
But then, I remembered Jesus on the cross, saying “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” How did they not know what they were doing? Jesus’ opposition intentionally set him up for a fall. They tried him dishonestly, beat him unmercifully and then nailed him to a cross intentionally. That does not sound like obliviousness to me!
The MacArthur Bible Commentary gives some insight saying, “They were not aware of the full scope of their wickedness. They were blind to the light of divine truth, ‘For had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory’ (1 Corinthians 2:8).
I saw a striking parallel to our earlier case scenarios. Isn’t it true that anyone who wounds us would not do so if they really had a grasp of what the divine truth is? In my own life, while I love my Father in heaven, I also have a healthy fear of him and do not want to act in such a way that would disappoint him. The divine truth acts as guardrails on either side of me to prevent me from any mishaps.
If our betrayers truly understood the greatness of God and that they will have to give an account of their lives to him, would they still commit heinous sins? I am not sure they would.
When Peter asked Jesus how many times we are to forgive in Matthew 18:21,22, Jesus responded, I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. Jesus knew we would be hurt repeatedly in this world. Why? Because not everyone understands the divine truth about God.
Today, if you are having trouble recovering from a wrong that seems unforgivable, ask yourself, “Did they really know God at the time?” Were they followers of Jesus Christ? If not, remember how Jesus’ handled it and cry out, “”Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Categories: Archived Devotions