“Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
I am learning to live daily by this quote said by Jesus as he was dying and people were fighting over his clothes, laughing about him as he was hanging against rough wood with nails in his limbs. I find that I have an easier time coping with relationships and people I don’t know even better when thinking about Jesus’ attitude at this point in time. It draws out a lot of empathy in me. He did not use any mighty powers to strike down those who offended him. Instead he saw that they were broken inside and in need of love and help.
As someone who regularly reads news on human trafficking, I see people respond pretty intensely through their anger over the situations. I am angry about it as well, believe me, but I see that those who hurt others had to have something happen in their lives to get to the point where they feel it worth harming or murdering another. While I never condone wrong action, I hurt for the victims and the perpetrators too.
The political debates bring this out of many people as well. I see people on social media name call and rip apart candidates. Then I see people argue with one another maliciously. I sit back and read these things and feel sad. There are times I will actually say that I don’t agree with all the candidates, but that it is not right to rip them apart and name call. Then people will try to convince me why I too should join them in their hostile anger. I don’t personally know the candidates. I am sure if I were them, all of my life would be scrutinized and criticized too. People are truly brutal towards one another and believe they are justified in their bashing.
Every person, even the most evil ones are still made in the image of God. They still matter to Him. He still loves them and wants what is best for them. Jesus still died for them. He wants them to be like him and to accept salvation through grace. We are not better than them or anyone else.
I had a lot of nasty sin in my own life that I can’t erase from existing in my past, though God completely forgave me. I said a lot of awful things in the past that I can’t change. I may have apologized about such things and maybe even denied saying them too. I however am transformed by Christ’s love to not judge others but to be patient and show them love. No one is going to change just because I am talking about them or saying how awful they might be. That just makes it worse. I can pray for them and ask God to do the changing. I can try to see both sides of things and show love. JUST LOVE. To me, this is true justice.
Living out Jesus’ words spoken towards those who ridiculed him helps me to overcome rejection I have faced, usually by other believers, who have hurt me most. They know not what they are doing to my heart when they push me aside, but they also know that I love them dearly regardless of what they say behind my back, to my face, or in stepping away from me. I’m okay with that. Jesus has shown me just love and I get it.