Today, David Brakke (the lead pastor at Maltby Christian Assembly) kicked-off our Easter series called “Famous Last Words” – speaking today on the subject of forgiveness.
The Bible reads, “Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. And Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, ‘He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!’ The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, ‘If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!’ There was also an inscription over him, ‘This is the King of the Jews’ (Luke 23:32-37, ESV).
This reminded me of something I read recently from Fredric Buechner’s “Wishful Thinking.” He writes, “Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back – in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you.”
Here is what I TRY to do when I am offended. When I cannot seem to forgive someone. I pray for them. I pray even when I don’t want to. Especially when I don’t want to. And I pray longer than I want to.