I guess I’m blogging again sooner than I expected. I was just overwhelmed by an experience in prayer. As I was scrolling through the status updates, photos and such on Facebook, I came across something that upset me. It was a photo of the US Ambassador to Libya, Ambassador Christopher Stevens, being dragged through the streets of Libya as he was being killed. I have seen the photos. I have heard the reports. Up until now, I looked away, but today I was overwhelmed with sadness for this man. So I decided to talk to God about it.
I wept before the Lord as I shared what was on my heart with Him. Praying that His Presence and mercy were there as this man lost his life. I focused on Ambassador Stevens face as I prayed. Not daring to look at the others in the photo. The ones that were murdering him. Suddenly I found myself weeping for the others in the photo. Men so completely lost that they brutally murdered another human being. I began to pray for them. I chose to forgive them. Yes, I want to see them come to justice, but more than that I want to see them come to God.
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son… (John 3:16, NKJV)
[God]… who desires all men to be saved… (1 Timothy 2:4, NKJV)
…”Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34, NKJV)
This last statement being the words that Jesus prayed for those who were nailing Him to the cross. He prayed for those who crucified Him.
I am reminded of the words of Stephen as he was being stoned.
And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not charge them with this sin.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep. (Acts 7:59-60, NKJV)
As I prayed I found myself forgiving the men who committed this atrocious act. As I prayed I found myself forgiving the politicians who allowed it to happen. It doesn’t mean that I will vote for them. But it does mean that I will not carry unforgiveness or hatred towards any man in my heart.
As I prayed I saw the faces of people who have wronged me. I forgave them.
The words that were pouring from my heart over and over again were, “I forgive you.”
The next face I saw was my own. I forgave myself for my own mistakes. But the words kept coming. “I forgive you.”
It was as though I was no longer saying it, but I heard the words coming from the heart of Jesus towards all these people, including me. I sensed a longing in His heart for all men to know that He forgives them.
…”Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29, NKJV)
…the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all… (1 Timothy 2:5,6; NKJV)
Oh, Father that they may know Your love and Your forgiveness. Forgives us our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us.
Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more? …”I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” …”You have rightly judged.” (Luke 7:42, 43; NKJV)