Last Words: Day One
“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34
As Jesus of Nazareth hung from the cross, He looked down and offered forgiveness to those who had tortured Him, mocked Him, and finally nailed Him to the pieces of wood. In an act of extreme grace, Jesus looked past their ignorance and even past their desire to be forgiven.
Romans 5:5 shares that “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Just a few verses later, we’re told how: “but God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” His love for us was extended while we were sinners – ignorant of our need and committed to our own agendas. When we reached out and received the gift of forgiveness that Jesus offers, we were still ignorant of the totality of our need because it is infinite but He still graciously gave.
Frequently, as followers of Christ, we find ourselves not experiencing the love of God that has been poured into our hearts. David Seamands, in his book on forgiveness, writes: “Many years ago I was driven to the conclusion that the two major causes of most emotional problems among … Christians are these: the failure to understand, receive, and live out God’s unconditional grace and forgiveness; and the failure to give out that unconditional love, forgiveness, and grace to other people … we read, we hear, we believe in a good theology of grace. But that’s not the way we live. The good news of the gospel of grace has not penetrated the level of our emotions.”
How do we ensure that grace has penetrated to the level of our emotions? How do we actively live in His grace and love and forgiveness? Simone Weil writes: “Grace fills empty spaces, but it can only enter where there is a void to receive it, and it is grace itself which makes this void.”
There was an initial “void” or experience of emptiness that lead to that initial reception of His love. How is that void growing in you today? Is there more and more need in your life for His love? Often, as we go on in our life with Jesus, the perception is that maturity means we have it more together and more figured out. The opposite would seem to be true as the experience of His love in our depths requires a greater experience of our need for Him. Seeing the “void” or empty spaces grow requires letting go of things that we use to fill the void on our own. Our lack of experiencing His love and grace is predicated on self-love and self-protection.
Spend a few minutes asking the Father what you are using to fill the void on your own and then ask Him for the strength to let go of those things so that you might experience His love that has been poured out in your heart.