No “Buts” About It
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”
Recommended Reading – Luke 6:32-35
You may have heard these words from someone you hurt: “I forgive you, but ….” If there is a pause after “but,” what are you thinking? During that moment of silence you are probably wondering if you are truly forgiven or not. The relief you heard in “I forgive you” probably vanished when you heard “but.”
“But” usually means there is a condition involved. “You can ride with me, but (I have three stops to make first).” “I’ll let you borrow my car, but (you’ll need to return it with the gas tank full).” Sometimes conditions are expected (filling the gas tank), but sometimes they seem out of place: “I forgive you, but ….” Doesn’t “forgive” mean, well, forgive — as in unconditional forgiveness? When we hear “but,” we hear the prelude to conditions on which forgiveness will be extended. When Jesus Christ asked God to forgive those who crucified Him, His request was unconditional: “Father, forgive them.” He didn’t say, “Forgive them, but don’t make it easy on them.” He simply asked that they be forgiven.
The next time you are called on to extend the grace of forgiveness, make sure it is unconditional — that there are no “buts” about it.
Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea until he has something to forgive.
C. S. Lewis