Day 23: Read Luke Chapter 23
Do you struggle to forgive others who offend or hurt you?
On May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II crossed St Peters square as was his usual practice. Suddenly there was a loud noise. The Pope was shot multiple times and sustained severe injuries.
While receiving treatment in the hospital, the Pope asked all Catholics to pray for the gunman. Mehmet Ali Agca shot the Pope. He was arrested and sentenced to life in prison. The Pope visited Mehmet in prison and forgave him.
Jesus, The Messiah, performed many miracles and wonders. But he was arrested by the Jewish leaders on false charges that His teaching incited the people to rebel. Both Herod and Pilate agreed that he had done nothing to deserve death. But they gave in to the people’s wishes to crucify Jesus.
Despite being ridiculed, mocked, and rejected, Jesus prayed for his persecutors. He asked God to forgive them because they didn’t know what they were doing (Luke 23:34).
Pope John Paul II and Jesus willingly let their accusers off the hook. They forgave and didn’t allow bitterness and resentment to settle in their hearts.
How do you respond to unfair treatment and false accusations? Are you struggling to forgive a loved one and feeling frustrated that you’re getting nowhere?
I struggled with forgiveness for a long time, especially with close loved ones. But with God’s help and prayer, I am making progress and getting better. Forgiving others who hurt, offend, or wrongfully accuse you is not easy. But Jesus shows us how to offer deep forgiveness and extend grace in Luke 23.
The Pope’s forgiveness changed Mehmet Agca’s life, and he became a Christian in prison. You and I receive God’s deep forgiveness and unmerited mercy every day. He requires us to do the same for others. Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and wishing your enemy to die.
Forgiveness helps you and me to experience God’s peace and freedom. When we receive God’s mercy and love, we will not internalize the wrongful hurt and offense by others. The secret to living in freedom is to extend the same grace to others.
Forgiveness is not condoning evil, but it’s rising above it. To forgive is to live and breathe God’s deep love and mercy. Your choice to forgive those who offend or hurt you puts you on a journey of deep inner peace, joy, and freedom.
Who needs your forgiveness today? How will you respond to those who hurt or offend you?
Prayer: Father, I want to experience your deep peace and mercy. Help me to be free from the bondage of unforgiveness. Thank you for forgiving me daily. Help me to extend your grace to others. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
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
Day 23: This post is part of the Come Away with Jesus Christmas Challenge.
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