The full reality of love is realized when we are able to bless, rather than curse; to forgive, rather than sit in resentment; to serve, rather than to be served. Love positions us in a posture of grace in which we regard the other as a beloved. To be sure, this isn’t easy but it is needed. As we mature in faith, we grow in the vastness of love. We discover the gift of loving God and others. Simply put, to love is to live fully into the wonder of the awesomeness of this one sacred life!
There is a moment in Jesus’ ministry that love must be the impetus of his words. He has been betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, and deserted by the followers. He has been wrongly accused and convicted; flogged and led to Skull Hill (Golgotha) and has had nails pounded into his wrists and ankles. Laughed at and scorned by the gathered crowd, he looks upon those there and whispers echoes of love in the midst of their cruelness, Father, forgive them for they don’t understand what they do.
Surely the earth must have shook beneath them! Unlike all the others who most likely engaged with the crowd by throwing obscenities and vitriol back, this one stands upon the nailed ankles and pronounces forgiveness. This forgiveness is rooted in love. Is it that Jesus could see past the noise and hatred to see the trueness of each of their souls? Was it that he wanted them to hear these words of grace soaked in love as the first statement from a man who had nothing left?
Love, in its fullest form, discovers that forgiveness grants a freedom of soul and a release of another. No longer bathing in the fumes of resentment, forgiveness is what happens when love leads our way. The wounds may turn to scars and forever be present, but love is the healing salve that allows the pain to diminish and wholeness to return. Allow these words of Jesus to coat you in grace and fill you with love for you are forgiven!