Two children tug and scream as they war over a soccer ball. “No! It’s mine!” “But I had it first!” They push and pull, finally scrapping in a heap on the floor. A little girl wanders over to collect her doll who lies near the wrestling mass. As she bends down, a foot shoots out of the brawl and catches her in the nose. With hands clasped over her face, she retreats to a corner to wail. The others continue to fight, oblivious of the pain they’ve just caused. The little girl is left to make a decision. She can become angry at the pain and injustice. She can even feel rejected and hated. Or she can choose to let it go, realizing it’s not because of who she is or what she’s done that she got hurt. It just happened.
We have all been on both sides of that story, haven’t we? Sometimes we’re the brawling kids who hurt others without realizing it. Sometimes they hurt us without any intention to do so. It would hardly be fair to blame them for the injury they’ve caused – they’re unaware and did not intend to hurt that little girl at all. It would also not be fair to blame the person hurt – she neither asked for nor deserved the bop in the nose.
It’s hard to understand that we can be deeply wounded without someone to fairly blame. If it’s not fair to blame the person who hurt me, and it’s not fair to blame me … what’s fair? Is there no justice? What IS justice?
I don’t know what’s fair. How could I? I’m selfish by nature and biased, wanting only the fairness that works in my favour. My flesh cries out for retribution – justice. Just like the blood of Abel. But the blood of Jesus cries out for forgiveness.
Jesus was unjustly accused, abused and crucified and while it was happening he prayed for their forgiveness! He did not shout at heaven “Why me?” He did not tell them how wrong they are or how sorry they’ll be. He understood that they didn’t know what they were doing, or the impact of their actions. If they had, they would surely have stopped!
I journey toward letting this sink into my heart. As I focus on this truth and choose to act on it, I trust it will become part of me. I will have a heart of forgiveness, focused on God’s will instead of my own desires. I will be able to love others beyond their actions, beyond my hurt, beyond myself.
You have come to Jesus, the one who mediates the new covenant
between God and people, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks of forgiveness
instead of crying out for vengeance like the blood of Abel.
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”
And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.
Lord, forgive me for my selfishness. I have seen only my hurt and, in my heart, demanded justice. Forgive me. I forgive those who have hurt me. I pray that they would also receive your forgiveness and be healed of their own pain. Lord, it's been said that 'hurt people hurt people'. I know I've hurt others too, and I'm sorry. I pray that you would heal the heart of those I've wounded. Thank you for showing me your heart of forgiveness. Please teach me to forgive too. Help me to love beyond myself. Fill me with your love, Lord, that I may give it away.