Today I started my morning with this scripture: “All who see me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads.” ~ Psalm 22:7
Throughout Lent, and especially as we draw closer to Easter, we are reminded of Jesus’ mockery as a part of the suffering inflicted upon Him by: Judas, chief priests and scribes, Herod, Pilate and his guards. Horrid indignities, treated as worthless and despicable, ridiculed, taunted — this was even before he was crucified!
Never was there a more blatant case for forgiveness needed and amazing grace extended. It was not sought nor expected by the majority, but they were generously lavished with it, nonetheless. That offer to all is a sealed promise. It still stands.
For some today, their everyday seems clouded by being treated lower than low just because they’re breathing air, placed there forever by other members of society, groups, families. Quite often those closest may choose a lifelong label of the cursed for being not as fast, smart, better, beautiful — or maybe they are too fast, smarter, perceived as “better,” or more beautiful by those who seek to unseat their coveted status of achievement or for having been blessed in ways the detractors believe they have not. Jealousy may drive the relentless punishment of someone appropriately using their God-given gifts — and worse yet, succeeding.
There are endless heart-breaking stories of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual abuse sometimes displayed publicly, some occurring in the pain-filled shadowy darkness saturated with silent cries. The air in that space forever hangs heavy with anguish and futility.
Maybe it started with a misstep no one will ever forgive… or because the despised is so different, no one knows what to do with them… or undeniable hatred spews out like fiery flaming words. Perhaps it was nothing at all the object of vitriol did except be in the wrong place at the right time, to be transformed into a convenient scapegoat for those who wish to insult or spread lies, gossip or innuendo.
For some, blaming and venting on others is so much easier than loving. Loving naturally allows a vulnerable spot in the heart open to hurt that some people seem unwilling to risk. Unfortunately, they don’t realize they’re limiting the possibility of deep joys and full life they could otherwise enjoy. They don’t know what they’re missing!
When we experience treatment like this, loving back more is the always best answer, difficult as that may seem to be. It can take a long time to get to that place. This is illustrated by Jesus “loving beyond measure,” who underwent horrific torture — that most would agree even today was extreme. By then dying on the cross, Jesus paid ahead forgiveness of the sins committed by anyone in this world willing to believe in Him. This is an inclusive offer extended freely and for all.
As I studied various readings during this season of Lent, I am reminded of the importance of forgiveness in all matters. The topic of “forgiveness” kept surfacing everywhere I read. Even if you can’t express it directly to the person [for reasons of personal safety, they are deceased, etc], it is still possible. It’s important. It’s love. Even if the person you want to forgive seems to desire to remain imprisoned in their unforgiving world, you don’t have to remain there. You have the key. That key is Love.
This reminds me of something Lisa Terkheurst shared at SheSpeaks: “I’d rather err by loving too much.” I embrace that beautiful thought… hope you will, too.
Where there is Love, there is Hope. Where there is Love and Hope, there is Grace, Forgiveness, making way for endless Joy, inexplicable Peace.
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Related: Showers of Blessings
About: My Current Book Project on Forgiveness
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