THE LIE: A person must ask for forgiveness in order to be forgiven.
My church is currently reading together, “Jesus: 21 Days That Can Change the Way You Pray (PrecisionFaith Prayer Series).” We are on Day 8 today.
The prayer focus for Day 8 is Forgive Them.
A belief exists that people must ask for forgiveness in order to be forgiven. Jesus shatters this lie on the cross.
As Jesus was being crucified, he asked his Father to forgive them. He prayed, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NRSV)
We do not know precisely who “them” is in the story. Was it the soldiers who drove the nails in his hands? Was it the on-lookers who watched? Those who taunted? Was he praying for the world? We really don’t know, but does it really matter.
Jesus teaches us that forgiveness rests in the hands of the offended, not the offender.
As the offended, I have the choice to forgive someone regardless if they asked for it or not. It is my choice.
I do not have to wait for them to come groveling to me, confessing they were wrong, and pleading for my forgiveness. I can choose to give it to them as soon as they offend me.
I can choose to live a life at peace rather than to carry a grudge against another, waiting for them to come to me.
Jesus once taught that whatever is bound on earth is bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth is set loose in heaven (Matthew 16:19). Jesus forgave “them” from the cross. I can’t help but think so did his Father.
Jesus didn’t need “them” to come asking for forgiveness. He gave it to them anyway for he held the power.
You have the power to forgive those that have wronged you. You do not have to wait for them to come asking for forgiveness.
What great love is that! Love that forgives without the need to ask.
What would it mean for you to forgive someone that has offended you?