Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do. Luke 23:34
Three-year-old Holland was arguing with her mom during bedtime. Finally, her mother, Mary Katherine Backstrom, tucked the girl in, saying firmly, “I love you, Holland, but not another word tonight. You are going to sleep now. I’m done fussing over stuffed animals.” But Holland had one more thing to say: “Mommy, I forgive you.” Mary Katherine didn’t know Holland even knew the word forgive, so she asked what she meant. The girl said, “It means you were wrong, and I’m tired of being mad, and now I’m going to sleep and my heart won’t have a tummy ache.”
That’s just about it, isn’t it?
When we forgive someone, we aren’t condoning their actions. We’re saying we’re tired of being mad, and we’re ready to let go of the fury so our heart won’t ache. That’s only possible through the work of Christ on the cross. When Jesus called out asking forgiveness for those who nailed Him to the cross, He showed us compassion and forgiveness.
Take His example to those around you. Be Christlike in your interactions with others today—show His heart of compassion by forgiving those who may have wronged you.
I was reminded by my toddler never to go to bed in anger.1 Mary Katherine Backstrom
The King Crucified: The Comedy at Calvary (Luke 23:33-39)
My yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30
I awoke to pitch darkness. I hadn’t slept more than thirty minutes and my heart sensed that sleep wouldn’t return soon. A friend’s husband lay in the hospital, having received the dreaded news, “The cancer is back—in the brain and spine now.” My whole being hurt for my friends. What a heavy load! And yet, somehow my spirit was lifted through my sacred vigil of prayer. You might say I felt beautifully burdened for them. How could this be?
In Matthew 11:28–30, Jesus promises rest for our weary souls. Strangely, His rest comes as we bend under His yoke and embrace His burden. He clarifies in verse 30, “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” When we allow Jesus to lift our burden from our backs and then tether ourselves to Jesus’s yoke, we become harnessed with Him, in step with Him and all He allows. When we bend under His burden, we share in His sufferings, which ultimately allows us to share in His comfort as well (2 Corinthians 1:5).
My concern for my friends was a heavy burden. Yet I felt grateful that God would allow me to carry them in prayer. Gradually I ebbed back to sleep and awoke—still beautifully burdened but now under the easy yoke and light load of walking with Jesus.
Reflect & Pray
What are you carrying today? How will you give that burden to Jesus?
Dear Jesus, please take my heavy load and lay upon me Your beautiful burden for this world.
1 John 1:5-9
Whether you have recently become a believer or have followed Christ for many years, you’ve undoubtedly discovered that the Christian life is a series of highs and lows. The truth is, we are never ultimately defeated because Christ overcame sin and death for us on the cross. Yet Scripture still warns us not to yield to the sinful desires of our flesh, conform to this world’s evil system, or fall for the schemes and lies of the devil.
Since we are not totally free from the corrupt influences in and around us, the Lord has provided a way for us to come back and be restored. It is called confession, and it involves humbling ourselves, telling God what we have done, and agreeing with Him that it is wrong. Then God promises to forgive and cleanse us so that we might be restored to fellowship with Him (1 John 1:9). The good news is that we are not alone in this battle with sin.
• We have God’s Holy Spirit, by whom we put to death the deeds of the flesh (Rom. 8:13).
• We have God’s Word, by which we grow in respect to salvation (1 Pet. 2:2).
• We have God’s grace, which instructs us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and live righteously (Titus 2:11-12).
• We have God’s promise that He will complete the good work He has begun in us (Phil. 1:6).
When you sin, think of confession not as a dreaded duty but as a gracious gift of God. Take advantage of this privilege without shame, knowing that restoration is on the other side.
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matthew 5:9)
In this seventh (out of nine) of the Beatitudes with which Christ began His Sermon on the Mount occurs the first mention in the New Testament of the important word “peace.”
But how can one be a peacemaker? Note that Christ did not say: “Blessed are the pacifists.” There are many today who talk about peace, but how does one make peace?
The answer lies in the example of Christ Himself. He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6), and He “made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself” (Colossians 1:20).
The real problem is that there can be no lasting peace between man and man as long as there is enmity between man and God. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). “And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
With that problem settled, we are now in a position to become true peacemakers, for we also can lead others to God through Jesus Christ. He “hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we . . . pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20).
As ambassadors for Christ, we are true ambassadors for peace. The best possible contribution we can make toward world peace, racial peace, industrial peace, family peace, or personal peace is to help people become reconciled to God through faith in the peace-making work of Christ on the cross. “These things I have spoken unto you,” says the Lord Jesus, “that in me ye might have peace” (John 16:33). HMM
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
But when a conscience has become seared, when a man has played with the fire and burned his conscience and calloused it until he can handle the hot iron of sin without shrinking, there is no longer any safety for him.
Titus wrote in his epistle about those to whom nothing is pure any longer, “but even their mind and conscience is defiled” (Titus 1:15).
Here Titus speaks of an inward corruption, revealed in impure thoughts and soiled language. I am just as afraid of people with soiled tongues as I am of those with a communicable disease.
Actually, a foul tongue is evidence of a deeper spiritual disease and Titus goes on to tell us that those with defiled consciences become reprobates, something just washed up on the shore, a moral shipwreck. EFE064-065
Oh Lord, deliver me from that “inward corruption.” Guard my mind and my tongue; convict me of any carelessness or straying. Keep my conscience alive and active. Lord, I really don’t want to end up a dirty old man, “washed up on the shore, a moral shipwreck.” Amen.
Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?—Acts 10:6.
Every task, however simple, sets the soul that does it free; every deed of love and mercy, done to man is done to Me.
Henry Van Dyke.
For each one of us, whether on a bed of pain, in feebleness and uncertainty of purpose such as comes with ill-health or over-strained nerves, or whatever else may be our immediate condition, nothing is more urgent, nothing more behoves us than to ask, “What wouldst Thou have me to do?” For, whatever our state, however helpless and incapable, however little service to God or to our neighbor seems within our power, there is no doubt at all as to His willing us to do something. Not necessarily any great thing; it may be only some little message of sympathy and comfort to carry to one even more lonely than we are; it may be some tiny pleasure to a little child, or a kindly word or glance to one whose own fault has cut him off from general kindness and pity; it may be even only in humble patience to stand and wait till He makes His will plain, abstaining the while from murmur and fretfulness; but, in some shape or other, be certain that your Master and Lord hears and will answer your question,” What wouldst Thou have me to do?”
H.L. Sidney Lear.
“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.” Isa. 45:22
This is a promise of promises. It lies at the foundation of our spiritual life. Salvation comes through a look at Him who is “a just God and a Saviour.” How simple is the direction! “Look unto me. How reasonable is the requirement! Surely the creature should look to the Creator. We have looked elsewhere long enough, it is time that we look alone to Him who invites our expectation, and promises to give us His salvation.
Only a look! Will we not look at once? We are to bring nothing in ourselves, but to look outward and upward to our Lord on His throne, whither He has gone up from the cross. A look requires no preparation, no violent effort: it needs neither wit nor wisdom, wealth nor strength. All that we need is in the Lord our God, and if we look to Him for everything, that everything shall be ours, and we shall be saved.
Come, far-off ones, look hither! Ye ends of the earth, turn your eyes this way! As from the furthest regions men may see the sun and enjoy his light, so you who lie in death’s borders at the very gates of hell may by a look receive the light of God, the life of Heaven, the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God, and therefore able to save.