Can I Be Forgiven?
Luke 23:34 Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.
Jesus had been beaten, mocked and hung naked on a cross. He was condemned to die with two common criminals, one of whom openly taunted him. As his killers fought over his clothing, He somehow, asked the father to forgive them all.
Though abused and dying in agony, He did not harbor anger or resentment towards those who crucified him. Instead, He pitied their spiritual blindness and asked God to be merciful to them. He forgave them and requested that his father to do likewise.
I wrote yesterday of the guilt and shame we feel when we engage in destructive behavior. The pain we feel when we hurt ourselves and others is often appropriate and can be used to motivate us to change. We may not however, always be able to right all our wrongs in this life. If we rely on our ability to undo all the destruction we have caused, we may never find peace in this life.
While I was able to restore my family and career, I was not promised that at the time I repented. It was some time until I felt any security that my family and career were no longer in jeopardy. If my only peace at that time would have come from fixing all the details of my life, it would have been a painful wait.
We do not need to wait though, to repair the most important relationship of our lives. God always welcomes us with open arms when we turn to him. Even in our rebellion and destruction, He longs for us to know forgiveness and peace in him. We can, at any moment, at any place, be restored to God, if we will turn to him.
This is the blessed message of the gospel, that on the cross, Jesus gave himself as the ultimate sacrifice for our destruction and sin. There is nothing that you or I can do that is beyond his forgiveness. If He can forgive those who nailed him to the cross, He can forgive your sin and he can forgive mine.
Oddly, I do not think that I ever doubted this. I always knew that God would forgive me when I turned to him. Perversely, that belief may have caused me to take such a fantastic gift for granted. If the guards’ spiritual blindness was that they could not see who Christ was, my blindness was that I could not see the necessity of seeking him above all.
Even after I felt I had repented, I was more obsessed with fixing the stuff I found more important. As it turned out, the only way I could fix me, my family and my career was to work on the one thing that needed it most, my relationship with God.
At any given time, my highest priority and my greatest need to is to maintain a right relationship with God. Though the trials of life may be greatly distracting, I can only appropriately address those trials when I am forgiven and seeking God above all.
This is what Christ prayed for on the cross. This is what He gave his life for, to forgive us and restore us to the father.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.