“When they hurled their insults at Him, He did not retaliate; when He suffered, He made no threats. Instead, He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly.” 1 Peter 2:23
Did you know that the only time Jesus asked His Father to forgive sinners was when He was being crucified and said, in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing?” On every other occasion, Jesus would forgive sinners Himself, but on the cross He asked His Father to forgive them. Why did He do that?
To understand, it helps to look at another occasion when Jesus healed a paralytic man (Luke 5:17-39). Not only did Jesus heal this man’s physical infirmity, however, He also forgave the man’s sins. The Pharisees complained, saying, “Only God can forgive sins.” And they were right…God is the only One who can forgive sins. Jesus Christ was God, so why didn’t He forgive the sins of His crucifiers?
On the cross, Jesus was not dying as God, because God cannot die. On the cross, He was dying as one of us. Yet He still wanted the only One who can forgive to forgive those who were hurting Him. When the disciple Peter looked back on the crucifixion, he remembered how Christ did not retaliate against His accusers. Peter remembered Jesus’ silence – and it spoke volumes. Jesus entrusted Himself to God.
We must learn to follow Jesus’ example. If you can trust God with your heart, you can trust Him with your hurt. Heartache and hurts should never become walls that separate us from God; they should instead be bridges that bring us closer to Him. When others turn their backs on you, turn your eyes towards God. Entrust yourself to Him. He is the only Just Judge. Then you will be free to offer unmerited forgiveness to those who have hurt you.
God, help me to entrust myself to you when I am hurt or wronged. Help me to offer grace rather than retaliation. In Jesus’ name, amen.