The first thing Jesus prayed from the cross described in a nutshell why He hung there in the first place. “Father forgive them . . . “—forgive those who tortured and took His life. Forgive those who live apart from You, who miss the mark in any way . . .
Without forgiveness, this murder is just another tragic story. Another good man sacrificed by a frenzied crowd. Another story that doesn’t get a happily ever after.
That’s what our story would be if Jesus didn’t pay for our sins and ask God to apply that mercy to our account.
Believe the truth about forgiveness.
Without forgiveness, we’re numb to the depth and gravity of our destiny before a God so holy even love can’t span the distance between us.
“So I’m not perfect; who is?”
Only Jesus. Only He could pay for sin. Only He didn’t owe a dime. Only He can get you out of jail for what you think could never be forgiven.
Some think they can have a relationship with God without His forgiveness. They try hard to hide, dismiss, or work off their guilt. They try to forgive themselves. The same is true about shame. But the debt is too big, the gap between you and God, too wide.
Forgiveness says, “let Jesus carry your guilt. Let Him endure the shame.” Your only option is Jesus. Only His death can span the distance. All that we’ve studied about His healing and teaching find their meaning in this moment: He came to rescue you through the forgiveness found on the cross.
Stop admiring forgiveness at a distance. Come in from the fringes. Stop thinking, “Yes, Jesus, forgive them . . . someone else for something else. Not me. Not my stuff. I don’t need it or it’s too awful.” Resist the impulse to run, to escape pain rather than confront it. To carry the guilt rather than surrender it.
Lay that defensiveness down and come join the community of the broken.
While you were the worst you can be, Jesus died for you. Love and grace meet at the cross and forgiveness flows from Jesus’ brokenness to yours. You become whole for the first time.
Forgiveness is like a gift from someone who knows you really well—the perfect gift you really need but could never afford to buy for yourself. Even before you knew you needed it, Jesus bought it for you.
Want to receive it? Begin here: Jesus, thank You for dying in my place. Thank You for paying a debt You didn’t owe for me, who owes a debt I cannot pay . . .