“Father, forgive them. For they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34
Jesus hung on the cross, bleeding, muscles clenched, short of breath – yet His first words from that position were words of forgiveness.
“Forgiveness only can come supernaturally through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. It is remarkable. It is just a just a God thing. What a picture of grace.”
Stu Epperson Jr. knows the call to forgive others the way Jesus has. When an individual was attacking Stu and his family, he wrestled with how to respond. The temptation was to snap back, to retaliate, to somehow reassert himself.
“I pictured this individual, and the hate and the evil that he had enacted to our family, and said, ‘Lord, I just wrote a whole chapter on forgiveness; why is this happening to me?’”
God’s response came swiftly.
“Stu, take him to the cross. Right now. Go to that cross.”
Stu obeyed, picturing his adversary at the cross, where Jesus hung. Then the picture changed. Stu suddenly saw himself there as well, standing near the man who had caused him so much angst and anger.
“The Lord broke my heart for this man. Right there, He broke me.”
The level of Jesus’ forgiveness was so high, infinitely higher than the level he himself needed to extend to this other man. In that moment, Stu’s perspective changed radically and God brought true healing where there had been hatred and bitterness. He urges us to take the same steps.
“Anyone you’re sideways with, that you hate or that you’ve got tension with – picture them at the cross. Picture them. And picture the Savior pouring His blood out, the tears coming down His eyes as He says, ‘Father forgive them.’”
“Picture yourself there, because you don’t deserve any of His grace. Yet He loved us so graciously and so scandalously. He poured into us we could forgive others. That’s what God did in my heart.”
Featured Songs: This Man by Jeremy Camp; Were You There by Selah; There Will Be a Day by Jeremy Camp