"Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing" (Luke 23:34). In this short prayer that our Lord Jesus Christ prayed from the cross, we can learn a great deal about forgiveness.
First, we can have confidence that our sins can be completely forgiven. There are people who say: "I don't feel forgiven. I have confessed and repented but I just don't feel forgiven." Feelings have nothing to do with forgiveness. Forgiveness has everything to do with the promise of God, who said that when you come to Him and confess, He'll forgive you, and that settles it!
Christ empowers us to choose to forgive.
Second, this prayer of forgiveness assures us that the vicious cycle of hatred and sin ends on the cross. When Jesus was suspended between heaven and earth, He bore our sin—all hatred, viciousness, and anger. Because of Christ's sacrifice on the cross, we have been freed from the bondage of sin; we are no longer slaves to anger, bitterness, or hatred. They end at the cross.
Third, we should note that Jesus practiced what He preached. Had He cursed those who crucified Him, His teaching on forgiveness would have been swept away into the dustbin of history. Never succumbing to hypocrisy, Jesus maintained His integrity and faithfulness.
Christ empowers us to choose to forgive. Your feelings and your emotions may struggle with the decision, but we must follow Christ's example and sacrifice to bring restoration. Every time we do, we are trusting Christ and will continually find more freedom from the burden of unforgiveness by the power of the cross so that we become more and more like our Savior.
Prayer: God, thank You for teaching us so much about forgiveness through Your example on the cross. Thank You for forgiving me. Help me to forgive others. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you" (Colossians 3:13).