Bible Reading: Luke 23:27-38
Forgiving someone for something that they did that hurt you can be very difficult. But, forgiving yourself for something that you did…can be just as difficult.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Sue Herzog was 18-years-old when she was killed on New Year’s Day, 1982, by a drunk driver. The driver was a teenager named Kevin Tunell (17-years-old). Since he was not an adult yet, his case was tried in Juvenile Court. He was convicted of manslaughter and drunken driving.
Sue’s parents, Louis and Patricia Herzog, filed a $1.5 million suit against Tunell. But they did a strange thing. They settled for only $936.00. That amount was to be paid $1.00 at a time. Tunell had to put a check in the mail for $1.00 on Friday of each week. His payments began in 1982 and finally ended in August of 2000…that was one year for every year Susan had lived. Why? Sue’s parents said that it was to remind Tunell that he had killed their daughter.
During those long 18 years Tunell kept missing his payments. The Herzogs kept taking him to court. On at least three occasions Tunell was sent to jail for contempt of court because he did not live up to his agreement to make the weekly payments.
Tunell told the court that he was constantly haunted by Susan Herzog’s death and tormented by the payments, which were due on Friday, because Susan had died on a Friday. He could never get it out of his mind. All week long. Week after week.
At one point, he offered her parents two boxes of checks covering the payments until the year 2001…one extra year. But, they refused. They said that it was not the money they wanted. But rather, for Tunell to never forget what he had done.
When the last dollar was finally paid Tunell cried uncontrollably as he told Susan’s parents, “I will never be able to forgive myself for killing your daughter.”
The Roman soldiers were brutal when they crucified someone. And from what the Bible tells us…they seemed to take some kind of malicious pleasure in crucifying Jesus…
- They punched Him in the face with their fists.
- They spit on Him.
- They blindfolded Him, slapped Him on the face…and then mocked Him by saying that if He was a real prophet He should be able to tell them which one of them had done it.
- They beat Him with a whip on the back, stomach, and legs that had jagged pieces of glass, rock, and metal attached to the ends of the leather strips.
- They forced a crown made from a thorn bush onto His head.
- They made Him carry the crossbeam of His own cross.
- They nailed His hands and feet to a wooden cross in such a way that not only did the nails cause excruciating pain as they were driven through…but every time He breathed He had to push up on the nail in His feet, causing the pain to shoot up His legs and into His ribs.
Generally, when a person was crucified, he would shout evil words at the soldiers. He would call them wicked names. He would curse them and their families.
But Jesus was different. Even at the moment that the soldiers were tying His arms and legs to the cross to hold them still…even at the moment that the soldier forced His arm onto the cross and jabbed the nail through the skin…even as the hammer fell with full force and drove it all the way through His hand and His feet…at that very moment…Jesus said, “Father, forgive them…”. At that moment…at that very moment…Jesus’ concern was not for Himself, but for the very ones who were crucifying Him. “Father, forgive them…”.
I don’t know, but it just seems to me, that if there was ever anyone who didn’t deserve forgiveness…it was those soldiers. Could anyone ever sin against Jesus any worse…than those men who crucified Him…those men who beat Him, and cursed Him…those men who caused all of His pain? Could anyone ever sin any worse against Jesus than those men? Is there anyone who deserved to be judged for their sin any more and not be forgiven…than those men? “Father, forgive them…” He forgave…even them. Even those men.
Have you ever done something that you thought that God could never forgive? Something that was so bad, that you thought that it was too bad…too bad to be forgiven? Well, I’ve got some good news for you…there is nothing too bad for God to forgive. Nothing. If God will forgive those men…then God will forgive you. Listen, listen to the voice of Jesus as He speaks to His Father about your sin…”Father, forgive ________”. Write your name there. Hear Jesus speak your name to His Father. “Father, forgive ________”. It’s done. It’s over. You have been forgiven. Now, since God has forgiven you…forgive yourself.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,