His Request, My Reward and Release


Luke 23:34 – Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”

I have been prompted through various indications to touch on the subject of forgiveness. First, this scripture was something I was hearing on last week when contiplating what to blog. Then by mere happenstance I was watching a movie with family that we randomly chose called “The Railway Man” (good movie) and the concluding theme and focus was forgiveness. To top that, we happened upon an estate sale on Saturday of this past weekend and my wife purchased some items that I went to pick up on Sunday. After obtaining the items, the man who was with the company conducting the sale walked out with me and began to talk about the goodness of our Lord. He had suffered a dibiltating injury and he was in some pain and discomfort physically but he was delighting in how the Father had bought him through the valleys of life. He and I had a conversation for about thirty minutes but near the end he described how his brother had stolen $350,000 from an inheritance he should have had. He said at the time of this incident eight years ago, he had given his life to Christ. He indicated I could be in prison at this moment if it was not for the words that Jesus implored from the cross. He said to me, I heard in my spirit, “forgive them; for they know not what they do .” Now you must understand I had not discussed ANYTHING about that scripture with him but it was to me confirmation to touch on this subject.

The first question that comes to my mind is who is the “THEM”? This request seems to be nondescript, plain, indistinct. “Father, forgive them.” He does not say, Father, forgive the priest that rendered false accusation. He does not say, Father, forgive the soldiers who have nailed me to this cross. Neither does He say, Father, forgive my disciples who have seemingly forsaken me. From His lofty position on the cross seeing the distant future He does not say Father, forgive those who will in the ages to come l turn their back to me and reject your sacrifice and sin against You, yet with those ten words He includes them. He does not mention a specific accusation or accuse a specific person, race, culture or group. Even though He being God knew the names of the soldiers that nailed Him to the cross He does not mention their names for prosterity to ridicule throughout the ages. AND no, He is not willing to mention their descriptive mission saying, forgive my murderers. There are no words of specific and directed accusation, only “Father, forgive them.”

Again, who is the THEM? Because it is not descriptive we can be included. He made room for us, too. I know the tendancy is to think that the “them” is the Roman soldiers and Jewish priests and the Roman government and it was, but it was also you and me. “For they know not what they do”. They think they know but they do not.

I am glad that He made it possible for me to live under the umbrella of the Father’s forgiveness that covers my purposefull and ignorant actions that documents my guilt and reveals my “filthy righteousness”. Yet we do not know the shallowness of our self-righteousness. We think, because we go to church regularly, or we were christened or were baptized or say our prayers or read a chapter in the Bible every day; that we do not merit His forgiveness. We think our religiousness outward performances, makes us exempt from His forgiveness but I still hear Him saying “They know not what they do.” They are trusting in their own actions and performance thereby negating my redemptive work through the cross.

The timing of the prayer is intriging also. It is in the midst of His pain, His humiliate His ultimate challenge that He petitions for “us” requesting our sanctuary, the Father’s forgiveness. Would that be our request or would it be “get them” Father.. look at what they are doing to me? Today what is our prayer for those who are terrorizing this world today. ISIS, brutally murdering innocent people of all cultures.. what is our prayer? Abusers, both governmental and domestic, viciously beating those we should be protecting, what is our prayer? Those who are being abused, tortured, and victimized in ALL countries by ALL tribes, nations,races and cultures. What is our prayer? Father, thank you for your undeserved forgiveness towards us, because we still do not realize what we do and how short we come to Your GLORY!! The heart of religion seeks and desires to control other men, cultures and nations. Jesus wants to set men free to live through Him, free, whole and forgiven. Oh how He loves us…

The real take away is also realizing IF we say the same petition it will release us to live life and not be painfully chained to the wrong visited upon us. I pray this was a highlighted message even if for just one person.

I am in SOOOOO Much Debt!!


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The other day, I retrieved my monthly budget excel folder. I keep a log of all of my financial obligations. I list what I bring in and how much is going out to those I owe and what I am able to save or invest for that proverbial “rainy day”. It helps me to maintain a handle on what must be done, what I should prioritize and focus on. No one desires to be in debt. All of us would like the experience of being “debt” free. While I was looking at my natural budget file, the thought occurred to me, what does your budget folder look like, spiritually? How much debt have you incurred? Who and what do you owe? To owe some one is to be in debt, or even more sinister it means to “be bound to”. Think about it, when you are in debt to someone or something, you are bound and even in part a slave to that which you owe.

Just like I recognize my natural debts, what does my spiritual debts look like? Am I being diligent in this responsibility or am I accruing late charges and interest? In my personal budget folder I categorize my file into two categories, “one time pay offs” (ie. medical bills, furniture, clothing, repair expenses, credit cards, etc.) and “on going and revolving” (ie. food, gas, credit cards, car payments, insurance, mortgage, utilities, rent, etc.). Spiritually what expenses are in my two files? Wait… there not two files, only one. It is “on going and revolving”. All of my debt can be placed under this category. What are some of the expenses found in my spiritual file? Well, I owe you prayer, I owe you a smile, I owe you a shoulder to cry on, I owe you the gifts and calling on my life, the poem inside of me, the song, message, book, play, compassion, listen ear, a safe harbor, encouragement, recognition and validation. These are just a few, BUT they are not just my expenses, they are yours also. You owe the world the same.

The Bible says in Romans 13:8 to “owe no man anything, but to love one another”. So let’s call this one category “Love/ Forgiveness”. Why is forgiveness mentioned in this category? In order to truly love there must be perpetual forgiveness. The need to pay on our personal forgiveness expense is huge. There is a need to forgive the past and even present hurts that we have buried and tried to ignore but not forgiven. The old relationships, friends, parents, ministries, the ex’s, the ones that just walked away without any explanation or goodbye. Oh here is one we do not like to confess that is on our expense docket. We need to forgive…wait for it… GOD! I was talking to my wife on just yesterday and she was telling me about a friend’s 10-year-old son who is very mad at God because for over a year, the boy has been praying to God to heal his father who had a stroke and God has not done it. I told my wife that if I would have conversation with that young man, I would say that it understandable and okay. God is not upset with you for how you feel. In fact, (a confession)… even in my fifties, I have been angry and mad at God and needed to “forgive” Him. Do not look at me funny, be honest…you have felt the same way. There has been many times when God in our own estimation, disappointed us and let us down. Understand it is really not the person or persons you are forgiving, it is the perceived (real or imaginary, intentional or unintentional) offense you are forgiving. Many times an individual have no idea that you are harboring that debt.

In order to “owe love only” we must first realize the definition of “forgiveness”. It means to “abandon, forsaken, to let die, leave destitute and irretrievably broken”. We cannot truly realize Romans 13:8 unless we handcuff love to forgiveness. We cannot obtain the “new” if we are still in debt, bound and enslaved to the old. The latter part of Romans 6:4 reads “…even so we also should walk in newness of life”, so through what the Father did through the sacrifice of His Son we have access to the “new”. Understand not only did Jesus take our sin, the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For he who had not known sin made himself to become sin in your place”. AWESOME SAUCE! We are no longer bound to the penalty and power of sin. God, the Father “forgave” abandon, forsaken, let die, left destitute and irretrievably broken, the offense, the sin (noun). JESUS! (read 2 Corinthians 5:21 again) Did not Jesus cry from the cross, “Father why have you FORSAKEN me? (just something to think on

We too can pay our debt of love, through our resolve to forgive, freeing ourselves from what has us shackled, enslaved and obligated to the pain, memories and power of past and even present offenses. Paying this debt is a conscious effort, especially in the beginning. Just as in the natural it must be planned and purposed. It just does not happen through mere happenstance. How much better our world would be if every man, woman, boy and girl began to make payment on their debt of love and forgiveness. Would we see so much conflict in our world? Would there have been and continue to be the countless numbers of wars where nations are against nations, tribes against tribes, races against races, brother against brother? Would those who espouse different religious beliefs treat each other so inhumanely understanding God have given all men free will and choice? Would there be the crisis in Syria, Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan and countless other locations that have not been in the international spotlight? When will we pay on this “Love/Forgiveness” bill? I did write “we” didn’t I? Well anyway… let me pull out my checkbook! I am late with my payment. Not to just Christians or Americans… but to the world! “For God so love the WORLD that He “FOR” gave His only begotten Son…”