Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Picture the face of the last person who mocked you, judged you, criticized, betrayed; remember vividly the emotions that stirred inside your soul, the features of their hatred bulging with pain; and finally recall your quick reaction.
More than likely it was of utter enmity, a reflex to either fight back or hold it all in until it’s a fire consuming your once joy. Aggression towards those that have yet to conquer a sinful heart, is ironically, in rebuttal one of our biggest sinful natures as followers.
This is something that has convicted me down to my core; because I struggle with a short fuse, I take things to heart, I react swiftly instead of humbly, and I don’t like conflict.
Jesus could pray for those that were hating on him, in the very moment they were doing so. A fortitude so powerful, and so boundless that has become one of the gravest lessons for us to grasp. As believers, we strive to live our life as close to Jesus’ as possible- we pray for our thoughts to be clean, actions to be genuine, and heart to be gentle- to walk the way He did.
Yet, when it comes to our enemies and non-believers, we fail at this vastly. Why?
There is an ample amount of obvious divide between non-believers and “Christians” these days that honestly dumbfounds me. Judgement towards those stuck in a life without God- alcohol, porn, drugs, gossip, lying-has become something shied away from, instead of driven into.
How can we have hearts that are so quick to do this, when they have no idea the depth of Christs grace and love like we do. Reflect on your testimony- majority of us came to God after a period of unknowing, denial, or just simply being lost. Those that mock us, hate us, and laugh at us are still in those periods of life.
Forgive them lord, for they do not know you yet. They do not understand the depths of sin and the darkness that it falls into.
Let us first break at the realization that they haven’t found their savior yet, and then let us remember that it is a part of our job to show them. It is a dynamic thing, to be able to pray for a coworker while she’s mocking your lifestyle; it is heartening to stay quite while your roommate’s dad is telling you, you won’t make it after college; it is beautiful to give grace to the best friend who almost overdosed and lied to you about it.
Those are the reactions that reflect Jesus’ life; remembering that those souls have not figured out, or have chosen to believe, that the fight they are still preparing for in this world has already been won for them. By us falling to vulnerable states of surrender, when all our instincts are telling us to yell, hate and judge right back, we instead show compassion and tenderness- they won’t be able to escape questioning how we could be so calm in a midst of bitterness.