Reading: Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up His clothes by casting lots. — Luke 23:34 (NIV)

Observations: Even enduring torture, even on the cross, He prayed for the forgiveness of those wounding Him. And He offers this same mercy to us—to me—although it’s my sin that caused Him to be crucified.

I am as guilty as the religious people who accused Him, as guilty as the Roman soldiers who drove the nails through His hands and feet. My sins made His sacrifice necessary, my sins heaped upon Him along with every other sin ever committed. He suffered and died to take it all away from everyone willing to accept His forgiveness.

Observe His great compassion and love, even while the nails we drive pierce his skin. Witness His mercy and grace, even after we’ve robbed Him and despised the things belonging to Him. Truly, He is divine. If the miracles of His birth and those He performed in His earthly ministry didn’t prove His divinity, and if the excellence of His life and teaching didn’t prove it, surely the love and compassion and forgiveness He showed us in His death and the power displayed in His resurrection prove it.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your love and compassion and forgiveness. There has never been anyone like You, Lord. You gave us the way of salvation and showed us how to live a life completely devoted to the Father and surrendered to Him. Lead me in such a life, Lord Jesus.

Forgive me for my unforgiving heart, Lord. Teach me to freely forgive, to have a heart unbound by the bitterness and resentment and rage that so bind and constrict me. Enable me to let go of grudges and condemnation—toward others, and toward myself since You have forgiven me.

Exercise/Action: You are forgiven through your acceptance of the grace of Jesus Christ. So because you are forgiven, let go of grudges and condemning others. You have received freely. Freely give.


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