As we become before God, let us prayerfully reflect on the song below about having the grace to forgive.
When you give God your heart each day, He fills the pages of your life with His amazing grace.
A wise counsellor who heard a sample of my singing offered me encouraging words about the gift I humbly thank God for.This gift is to be used only for Kingdom work. It is a gift of God’s amazing grace.
Yet, the counsellor said there was hesitancy in the singing, as if I felt I would do something wrong. As I took what he said back into prayer, the Holy Spirit revealed to my heart the cause of me not singing at full power.
I reflect upon an experience as a young minister in training. After chapel one day one of the students comes up to me and says with anger, “Kevin, you need to soften your voice and blend in with the rest of us. I speak for many people.” No matter how softly I sing, I am still criticized. I am falsely judged for glorifying myself, when all I am doing is singing with joy to my Lord.My faith in Christ is only three years old. I still have lessons to learn about the darkness that can be in people’s hearts. All of us fall short of the mark of being perfect people. I learn that the green-eyed monster of jealousy exists even within Christian colleges, universities and seminaries. Why? Because we are all on a journey of being perfected in love.
As God calls me to see the pain of that experience and heal from it, a truth emerges He wanted me to share with you. We are called to forgive those who have hurt us. That is what Christ did on the Cross as He forgave those responsible for Him carrying the cross of humiliation and death.
Picture Christ hanging on that crude wooden cross. He is dying a horrible death as He fights for His breath, exhausted, blood dripping from His cruel and insulting crown of thorns.
Imagine for a moment the pain you would fee if nails are are put through your arms and feet. I know my heart would be filled with anger at such an inhumane death.
Understanding the full magnitude of Christ’s death is hard for me to deal with. It’s difficult for us all to deal with.
Christ may have experienced blood loss as the stress of His impending death as He knelt in the garden at Gethsemane. The condition is called hemitidrosis. The physician Luke says, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. – Luke 22:63.
According to Robert Gidley. “The facts of crucifixion.” The Cross Reading (Lent, 2000):
“Although the loss of blood would not be significant, it shows that he was under extreme stress, which would have weakened him physically.
The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. – Luke 22:63
Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him. – Mark 14:65
Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him – Matt 26:67
When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby struck him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. – John 18:22
Before the scourging and crucifixion, Jesus was beaten by his guards, which would weaken him. In addition, he would have had no sleep that night, and walked back and forth from trial to trial.
A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. – Mark 15:21
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. – Matt 27:32
As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. – Luke 23:26
Editorial note: Scholars differ on the weight of the cross-beam that Christ carried. Although movies depict Christ carrying a cross, it is more likely that He carried a patibulum, which was a cross-beam that likely weight between 34-57 kg.
Typically, a prisoner carried his own cross to the crucifixion site. The fact that Simon was pressed into carrying Jesus’ cross suggests that Jesus was too weak to carry his own cross.” The condemned man was affixed to the cross with nails driven through his wrists and feet. Through experimentation and the study of anatomy the Romans had discovered the Medial nerve located just above the wrist joint and the center of the foot. The weight of the body caused the nail to press against this nerve shooting horrific pain throughout the nerves of the body.
The weight of the body, pulling down on the outstretched arms and shoulders, would tend to fix the intercostal muscles in the position of inhalation. The only way the man could exhale was to lift with his arms and push with his legs to hold himself up for a few seconds to allow the air to escape from his lungs. To avoid suffocation the man was forced to cause his own excruciating pain by putting more pressure on the medial nerves. The average life span of a person on the cross was three to four days. After four days the soldiers would help the person to die quickly by breaking his legs so that he could not use them to push himself upward to exhale. After a few hours, the muscles in the shoulders would lock and the man would die from exhaustion asphyxia or suffocation.”
Yet, Christ in His agonizing pain shows the spirit of forgiveness. As it becomes harder for Him to speak, He prays to His Father. I like the way Eugene Peterson puts it in The Message:
Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them; they don’t know what they’re doing.”
Dividing up his clothes, they threw dice for them. The people stood there staring at Jesus, and the ringleaders made faces, taunting, “He saved others. Let’s see him save himself! The Messiah of God—ha! The Chosen—ha!” (Luke 23:34-35).
Insult upon insult, indignity upon indignity was heaped upon our saviour, but not once does He ask for God to visit His vengeance and holy wrath upon those responsible for His death. There is only this tireless compassion for all those who are responsible for His horrifying death.
I cry as I prepare this piece for you. Many can’t look at the full measure of what Christ endured as He suffered and died, It’s sickening. No human-being should ever die that kind of despicable and humiliating death.
Then, in my own pain as tears fall down my face I am given an image of healing in my own life. Christ extends His arms of love to me and says, “Kevin, forgive as I forgave those who said hurtful things to Me. Forgive as I forgave my accusers, who falsely judged me. Child, I also ask you to forgive that man who released his jealous anger at you. Forgive him, Kevin, for he too knew not what he was doing. Forgive all the people in your life who said you are a lazy, stupid and a burden. You and those who love you know the truth. I am calling you now to live a life where you have a forgiving heart towards everyone.”
The Christ of your heart calls out to you and asks you to forgive others for the hurt and pain others have and continue to cause you. Unforgiveness is a cancer that will poison your soul and steal away your joy as the Enemy laughs. Don’t give darkness the victory. Give the Light, the light of Christ that can be in every heart the victory.
From yesterday to today the change in my singing voice for my Lord has been amazing! Watch for a sample of it to be posted soon. This gift of grace is happening as I fully forgive all of the people who have hurt me. Forgiveness can be powerful. Even if you are not yet in the place to forgive those who wronged you, I ask with a loving and prayerful heart that you lay all guilt and shame about your past at the Cross. Today, yes today, God wants to give you the amazing gift of His wonderful grace!
When you ask God for a forgiving heart, He fills all of the pages of your life with the free gift of His abounding grace.