Monday, April 7, 2014

7 FINAL WORDS - 1. FATHER FORGIVE THEM

Written by Audrey E. Charles
 
As He hung on the Cross on that fateful day Jesus made the first of seven dynamic, life-altering utterances...

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. – Luke 23:34

Unforgiveness is often a major stronghold in the minds and hearts of believers and unbelievers alike. The mind, will and emotions like to hold on to the wrongs that were done, replaying them over and over in one way or another. Very often these memories lie dormant, hidden in the recesses of your mind until something similar in nature happens.....and you react.

Have you ever thought you had forgiven someone only to have that memory triggered, and you feel the twinge of uneasiness or pain again? That is an indication there is still some work to be done in that area.


Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a decision. It is the doorway, so to speak, through which all other things in your relationship with the Lord must come. Without forgiveness it is impossible to have right relationship with the Father. He forgave you of all that you have done, are doing and ever will do.

In forgiving someone you give up the right to be right. You release your offender from any obligation to make it up to you. How do you do that? Let’s examine Jesus’ choice of words.

“Father, forgive them…”

Because the Father’s life is already the powerfully limitless life, He can forgive in a way that you may not yet be able to. God will not do anything that you don’t ask Him to do, so in essence you ask the Father to extend His forgiveness on your behalf in a particular area. You can then release the offenders and yourself from the burden of the offense. You no longer are affected by the “nail” of unforgiveness.

“…for they know not what they do.” – This is the key to forgiveness.

There is a saying that ‘hurting people hurt people’. People hurt others because they themselves had been hurt. Think of your offender as a wounded animal, bruised by the pain of some past offense – whether real or perceived. When a wounded animal is backed into a corner – when it has to face the reality of its own vulnerability – it strikes out at whomever or whatever is closest. This is the way it tries to convince itself that it still has some modicum of control. It is the same with hurting people. Hurting people are in survival mode...flesh-dominated and not spirit-led...so their mind, will and emotions are in control.



Now, see yourself as that wounded animal. Have you ever lashed out at someone either deliberately or instinctively? Was it not an effort to retain or regain control in some area of your life? If you had it to do all over again would you have said the same words? Done the same thing? You hurt that person because you didn’t fully know the extent of what you were doing. Your offenders hurt you for the same reason.

People hurt others because they don’t fully understand who God is, or who they are. Genesis 1:26 tells us that God created all mankind in His image and in His likeness. You have your parents’ physical DNA imprinted in you, so you look like and act like them in many ways. Similarly, if you are a Christian, you have God’s DNA embedded in you. The characteristics of God are a part of your make up. It is when you don’t recognize this truth that you malfunction in your thoughts, attitudes and actions.

Are you willing to do as Jesus did and ask the Father to forgive? In doing so, you deny your flesh the right to have its own way. Be cautioned that your flesh will not submit without a fight for its right to survive in this area. It may lie dormant for a while, and then arise again at an unexpected time, showing up as anger, depression, resentment, feeling overwhelmed or some other negative emotion. But if you are willing, the Father will enable you to tell your flesh, “Be quiet!” when the temptation to hold a grudge presents itself.

Will you take the time now to quietly ask the Father to bring back to your remembrance any offenders that you have not been able to completely release in forgiveness? Then ask Him to forgive them. In doing that you will have taken the first step out of the flesh-dominated life and into the limitless life that Jesus always intended for you to have.

11 comments:

  1. "Father forgive them..."

    These are very powerful words.

    Thank you for sharing. I'm visiting, today, from Michelle DeRusha's hear-it-share-it blog.

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  2. Forgiveness is often an act of will for me--rather than a feeling, just as you say. Very good thoughts, friend.

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  3. Forgiveness from Jesus carries through unto all Mankind - now it is up to each person to receive that forgiveness and make salvation a personal choice. When we forgive is causes us to be healed inwardly and often physically too.
    This is Hazel, I just happen to be posting for Robert and am still in his site. Thank you for sharing at "Tell Me a Story."

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  4. When I was in Soroti, Uganda, dealing with kids that had been abducted by the LRA, and interviewed a 15-yr old girl who had been forced to be "3rd wife" for a 25-yr old, and whose wives were mean to her, and she had been forced into sex, of course, I was overwhelmed with her comment. At the end, I asked what she would say to him if she saw him again, or the ladies, too, and she said, "I would tell them, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing." I was overwhelmed with her comment. I posted about it a couple years ago, and have written part of it in a book I've been writing. She's about 25 now... and I hope she wasn't buried in AIDS. She was a special person. I can never forget her. You grabbed me. Thank you.

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  5. People hurt others because they don’t fully understand who God is, or who they are. So true. Once we know how much we have been forgiven, it becomes simple to forgive others.

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  6. Forgiveness is so important and freeing, yet is not often done, especially in our culture of "Somebody OWES me!" Sad. Thank you for the reminder.....we all need to forgive...........often.

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  7. It's so important for us to remember that we are not capable of forgiving without God's help. Too often the reason we keep coming back to the same thing is because we're trying to do it in our own strength.

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  8. Thank you for sharing your awesome post with us here at 'Tell Me a Story." I enjoy your posts so much!!

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  9. Wonderful, Audrey, simply wonderful. And really powerful. Unforgiveness can have such a stronghold and forgiving others just like Jesus did is such a blessed avenue to freedom. Thanks for sharing these great thoughts over at #EverydayJesus. Blessings to you :-)

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  10. Forgiveness is never easy but absolutely necessary. The story of Joseph and how he forgave his brothers has been helpful to me when needed to forgive others. We need to remember that God can make bad things a blessing if we let Him. It has certainly been so in my life. Thank you for this thought provoking post and for sharing it with us on Spiritual Sundays.

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  11. Sunday's message dealt with unforgiveness. I think we don't realize just how crippling unforgiveness can be.

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