Thursday, February 10, 2011

God Forgive Them Their Ignorance

With his last breath, Jesus uttered, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." How many of us could say that if we were dying in excruciating pain?

It takes monumental forgiveness and strength to be that kind, generous, and forgiving. I'm sure I've never met anyone who could do it.

Then again, maybe I have. Last Sunday night I was at a Super Bowl party and there was a young woman there who was so simple and kind, so gentle and childlike, so sweet and engaging, that I can imagine her just crying in pain - not understanding what was happening to her; being a creature of love and grace no matter how terrible or cruel the world was to her.

She clearly has had a difficult time in life, and labored very hard, probably from a very young age. I would bet that she grew up in hill country, on a farm, where hardship reigned and there were few comforts. Her poverty and want prepared her for something greater, and she gained something that I don't often see in anyone. True humility.

She is truly blessed; that is, she possesses God's guarantee of eternal joy in the Kingdom of Heaven, when she passes away from this poor, twisted world; a world that is largely divorced from God.  Christ's cry upon the cross was also a warning to us that the punishment for divorcing ourselves from Almighty God is terrible beyond comprehension.

Our Lord said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,  for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."