Forgiving Our Enemies
In this New Year, many are reeling from the events of 2020; troubled by the prospect of what lies ahead. Covid-19 took a large toll on America and the world. So much was lost to it—businesses, jobs, security, certain freedoms, closeness with others—and, most tragically, many precious lives. It seems now, even America as we knew it might be lost.
Anger and frustration have reached a boiling point in many places. Sadly, forgiving our enemies and being compassionate to one another seems a distant concept for many in today’s climate.
People wonder about the future, while myriad voices seek to place blame and use their influence, even the pandemic itself, to gain an upper hand. Some, with ominous agendas, have fueled the emotions of others, only to create more havoc. Why? And where is it all going?
A while back I wrote a blog titled, “Remembering Corrie—Love, Don’t Hate,” based on the true story of Corrie ten Boom, who suffered and survived a Nazi death camp during WW2. If anyone had reason to hate and want to “cancel” her enemies, it was Corrie. At one point, seeing monstrous injustice all around her, Corrie allowed hatred for the enemy to grip her heart briefly. Then she was reminded of the One who suffered most at the hands of the enemy. One who was nailed to a cross He chose to embrace as He sacrificed His life for our sins. Corrie’s heart melted at that remembrance. Her sins had been forgiven, and she must forgive and love others as He did.
I also know what it’s like to be forgiven much!
A few years ago, I awoke very early, trying to find just the right words to write about His forgiveness in a new book. Not knowing how to begin, finally I prayed, “Lord how would YOU have us see forgiveness?” Almost instantly, the words came. I was impressed to see forgiveness through Jesus’ own eyes—from HIS vantage point on the Cross.
The following is what I believe the Lord gave me that morning…
From the Cross
From my vantage point, high above the crowd—my vision all but obscured by the blood forming around my eyes, the faces of so many blur at times. I know each face… each heart… each of their dreams… what causes them joy… every tear ever shed. I know the fear in some who would rather I died, taking with me the knowledge of their secrets, than to confess the shame that placed me here.
The pain that racks my physical body, nailed here as I AM, is nothing compared to that which has taken over my mind. My eyes meet theirs as the depth or shallowness of each heart is consumed in me. My one link to Sanity [the Father] is distant now—grieving, and yet too Holy to look on the sins I willingly take upon myself.
The eyes below are unable to grasp what is happening at this critical hour—or why I came. I know why each life is here—how it began—how it ends. Some have come to empathize with me and, having forsaken their own way, to trust. They mourn my impending death, having yet to understand the need of it. Many look upon me and suffer deeply within themselves, FOR themselves, what they cannot let go of—cannot FORGIVE. Still others are here to watch curiously, my nakedness twisting, rising and falling, as I struggle for one more breath.
I hear the anguished cries below me—ABOVE me, INSIDE me. And the mocking. They wanted it this way. But I know who and what they are. I created them. I LOVE them, even as they struggle to disconnect—part of them wanting to be free of me; part of them wanting to believe I would never leave them, nor forsake them—even now.
In this moment, so close to dying, I willingly lay down my life for ALL of them—from the foundations of the earth, throughout millennia to come—taking to myself every tear, every earthly pain; every vile and merciless act; until it seems my heart will burst.
And now, before I FINISH this, I make one last plea on their behalf, as their true FRIEND.
To pray, with every fiber of my being, words that echo through my pain-racked head and mingle with my own blood, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do,” I would have to be God. I AM!
God SO loved us
There He was, beaten and tortured by those who thought He had been only a “trouble-maker,” not knowing they were crucifying the sinless son of God. The One who was born to die for our sins, because God the Father SO loved us!
Maybe you, like me for the first forty years of my life, are unable to grasp what incredible thing happened on the Cross that day in Jerusalem. I know now it wasn’t the end, nor merely another human tragedy. It was the most crucial event of all time that purposed to rescue you and me from a fallen world, that we might spend eternity with our Creator in the place He has prepared for those who love Him.
Is that not more than amazing?
Colossians 1:12-15 says, “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
He laid down His earthly life in one final, excruciating, sacrificial, once-for-all act of FORGIVENESS.
For our own Peace of Mind…
I read these words over and over, as I have listened to the news lately. I want only to live my faith as a Christian woman and a free American; to treat others as I would have them treat me. That’s also a seemingly forgotten concept today!
But, for our own peace of mind, we must remember God made us and He loves all of us.
He said, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, FORGIVING each other just as, in Christ, God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). He said to, “Bear with each other and FORGIVE one another, if any of you has a grievance against someone” (Colossians 3:13). Importantly, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. FORGIVE, and you will be forgiven” (Luke 6:37).
Christ Jesus—God with us on earth—said, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have PEACE. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart—I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33).
Trusting Him, we will also overcome!