SUPERHUMAN FORGIVENESS: THE CROSS
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
~ Luke 23:34 (NIV)
Today’s devotional again comes from a Chinese house church pastor who was arrested and held for three weeks just prior to this talk. He says his experience was going with Christ to the Garden and to the Cross. Today he explains The Cross:
This is what amazed me the most. Whenever I was beaten up (and that was quite often during those three weeks), I would first feel searing pain, and then another feeling would flood in, almost wiping the pain away. Do you know what that feeling was? Pity. Pity for the man who was beating me.
I kept seeing my interrogator as a man gone wrong. I felt sorry for his mother, who would be so ashamed of him. I wondered what kind of father he must have had, to turn him into such a monster. I felt sad to be in the presence of one of God’s creatures that could treat another human so badly with so little concern.
Then I would get amazed at myself. Through the pain I would think, “I should be angry, but I’m not, all I want is for this man to be saved.” I had three ribs and a wrist broken, two teeth knocked out, my kidneys were malfunctioning, and yet all I could wish for was for the man beating me to find Christ and forgiveness.
Now I agree with that young sister. It sounds very strange. It doesn’t even ring true. It’s more human to be angry, or to be afraid. But I can only say this was not myself making me feel that way, but Christ within me. It was superhuman. It was Divine. And to this day, it serves as the greatest assurance I have that I am saved.
Again, this is also the way of Christ. In Luke 23:34, He says from the Cross itself, in the midst of excruciating pain, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” I tell you, it gives you such a thrill to know that you feel as Christ felt. That’s why suffering is counted such a joy, such a privilege. It confirms to the sufferers that they are Christ’s, and He lives in them. We don’t have to trust a word that this is so. We feel it in our very breastbones.
RESPONSE: Today I will forgive those who are causing me grief as Jesus would and did on the cross.
PRAYER: God, fill me with Your superhuman forgiveness so that I may walk today as Jesus did in forgiving those harming Him. Help me also feel pity and compassion for those who so easily treat others badly.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.