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Lessons from the Cross 1



'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.' Luke 23:34 ESV

Lesson 1: Forgive those who hurt you. One boy accidentally hit another with a stick. That night the injured boy's mum said, 'Son, you must forgive Harry before you go to sleep.' Grudgingly he replied, 'Ok, but unless I die before I wake up, he'd better watch out tomorrow morning!' When people hurt us, it's hard to believe it's unintentional or done in ignorance. Amazingly, after being beaten, humiliated and nailed to the cross, Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, they do not know what they are doing' (Luke 23:24 NIV).

Forgiving means refusing to remain a victim. By not holding grudges or dwelling on the pain, you free yourself from the feeling of being controlled by your offenders. Jesus said, 'Pray for those who hurt you' (Matthew 5:44 CEV). Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German Christian who was persecuted by the Nazis, said, 'God doesn't promise that when we bless our enemies they'll not despitefully use us. They will. But that can't hurt or overcome us, so long as we pray for them. By praying for them, we are doing for them what they can't do for themselves.'

Professor Tony Campolo often asks his students what they know about the teachings of Jesus. They always say the same thing: 'Love your enemies.' More than anything, this factor this should separate Christians from non-Christians.

So what now? Jesus also said, 'Give as freely as you have received' (Matthew 10:8 NLT). Being able to forgive others comes from a deep gratitude to God for forgiving your sins and wiping the slate clean. So, forgive!

Soulfood: Ex 12:1-14, Mk 14:12-26, Ps 69:7-21,

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