Monday, August 4, 2014

Father, forgive them for they know not X

Generally speaking, I am not looking for forgiveness. More often than not, when someone tells me that they have “forgiven me” my natural disposition falls somewhere between annoyance and bemused indifference. “Oh, well that's very gracious of you to have become unnecessarily offended with me, held on to that grudge for years, then benevolently pronounced me 'forgiven.' How very big of you.” Bestowing forgiveness is something we often use to level the playing field. Someone does something I don't like. Then I get to hold it against them until I deem them worthy of my forgiveness.

Jesus asked the Father to forgive Israel for crucifying Him. It is interesting to consider, however, that Jesus does not tell Israel that He, personally, forgives them. Why not? It is not that Jesus did not forgive them Himself, but rather He did not seem to view forgiveness with the same sense of self-aggrandizing empowerment as the rest of us might have. Even though He is the One being killed, He seems to see it no more His place to offer forgiveness than it is to have taken offense.

I understand that God, in His justice, has grounds to be “offended” by mankind. And I understand that through the mercy of the Father and the humility of the Son, these offenses are not always held against us.

But regarding ourselves: rather than graciously offering forgiveness to each other, perhaps we should be humble enough to not take offense in the first place.


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