Every Lenten season I think of the last prayers of Jesus as he was dying on the cross. He prayed (Luke 23:24), “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” I’m amazed at how Jesus summoned the strength to ask God to forgive the very people responsible for his crucifixion as they cast lots for his garments and mocked him.
Forgiveness is a powerful and very difficult act. From my perspective, it is much easier said than done. For example, last year I wrote a Lenten reflection reporting that I had forgiven a professional colleague. When I wrote that reflection last year, I honestly believed that I had forgiven this person because I had the realization that he was simply ignorant and selfish; I felt pity for him. However, as the year progressed, it became clear to me that although I felt sympathy for him, I had not actually forgiven him. In reality, I am still harboring a multitude of resentments toward him, which runs so deep, I can’t let go and actually forgive.
As exemplified by Jesus, it takes a lot of courage to forgive those who have betrayed and hurt us, and it is important that we remember this especially at Lent. The Upper Room defines Lent as a season of the Christian calendar where Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God. In this spirit, I pray that this Lent, God will give me the strength to follow the actions and teachings of Jesus so I can learn how to forgive.
“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
Friends and members of our Christ Church family have prepared these daily reflections as a means for you to consider how forgiveness informs your faith walk during this holy season. They are a richly diverse group from many different geographies around our nation and globe, formed by a wide variety of traditions.