Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Blogging Lent

I’m going to be joining some friends in a blogging project for Lent. (see jackswords.com and uglyevangelical.blogspot.com). The goal is to reflect on the words Jesus said from the Cross. This week’s saying is “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

1. This saying is so right…until I try it myself. When someone wrongs me, my first thought is usually to curse them. I’ve noticed that virtue always looks great on others, but for some reason we don’t like to wear it ourselves. I think, here, about the beauty of Jesus praying this prayer for his persecutors.

2. I always wonder whether this prayer actually worked. Does praying for God to forgive someone have any power to bring God’s forgiveness about?

4 comments:

Ben said...

Something that always struck me about those amazing words - how they were echoed by Stephen (perhaps not word for word) when he was stoned in the book of Acts.

It's probably horrible theology, but somewhere in my head, there's been this thought "Well, of course Jesus can say that. He's God. It's not so easy [side note criticizing myself: as if it were easy!] when you're a mere fallible mortal like me."

Then along comes Stephen. Possibly inspired by these words of Jesus. And he, too, is able to forgive his murderers. Not just forgive, but plead for divine forgiveness on their behalf. Such a merciful heart leaves me speechless. It's so beautiful it's beyond my comprehension.

I want - oh, how I desperately want - that kind of heart. But, yeah, right now I'm like Kenny. Someone cuts me off in traffic, I will curse that person, insult his/her manhood/womanhood, and secretly hope he gets in a wreck.

Well, I'm not that vindictive all the time, but I'm no Stephen.

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

"I always wonder whether this prayer actually worked."

Unfortunately, we rarely are in a position to see the effect our prayers have on others, whether it's asking God to forgive our enemies, or to heal a sick infant. Usually, the infant recovers, but it's not so easy to see how God's forgiveness affects our enemy. Nonetheless, we have only the word of Jesus to follow. He says, forgive your enemies and pray for those who despitefully use you. Does forgiving your enemies mean you can trust them again? Probably that's not what God expects, but He probably does expect us to not retaliate in thought, word or deed, and at the most, help him if he is in danger. All that's already in the Tanakh.

"Not just forgive, but plead for divine forgiveness on their behalf. Such a merciful heart leaves me speechless. It's so beautiful it's beyond my comprehension."

Me too.

jose said...

John writes in 1John chapter 5 that we should pray for a brother who commits "a sin not leading to death" and "God will give him life." I'm still not exactly sure what this means because apparently there is a sin leading to death. "I am not saying he should pray about that."

jose said...

I have forgiven my enemies before. I have forgiven those who have wronged me before too. Many times in fact.

But I think in the back of my mind I've held onto "Vengeance is mine says the Lord."

I forgive you for your sin against me. Sure, that's no problem. I just fear for you and God. It doesn't look good for you.