The Word of Forgiveness
The first word given to us is forgiveness. Forgiveness comes before the crucifixion, before the insults and death. Forgiveness is always first. Maybe we could not cope with listening to the Passion of Christ it we did not begin with forgiveness.
Lord Jesus, you looked down from the cross at those who had beaten you, laughed at you, cursed you, and you saw the terrible eyes of your enemies watching, waiting for you to die. Yet beyond the hatred, beyond the violence, of those desperate men and women you saw your Father’s love for them. And you responded in love and said: "Father, forgive them; they do not know that they are doing."
Lord Jesus when my enemies are watching, waiting for me to fall let me not be blinded by pain and anger so much that I can no longer love them. Give me resurrection eyes that I might see even my enemies as our merciful Father sees them.
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other as well. Love your enemies and do good to them, then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High, for he himself is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful (Luke 6:27-36)
It is usual for crucified persons to speak while hanging on the cross, but their words usually consisted of wild expressions of pain and pleading for release. They would shriek and curse and spit at their spectators. But here was Jesus, suffering untold agony and dying a shameful death. He didn’t cry out for pity nor did he curse his crucifiers. There was no plea for release, but instead, a prayer for all his enemies. Jesus prayed for those who condemned him and nailed him to the cross.
Has someone hurt your feelings in some way? Can you pray for that person?