Luke 23:34 – And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments.
The stories of forgiveness we see throughout the Bible, and in our own lives on this earth, are mere shadows of the forgiving act Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. Our ability to forgive others is because He did the ultimate act, dying on the cross, to forgive us of our sins. Rather than punishing humanity for their sins, he drank the cup of God’s wrath meant for us through His sacrificial death.
In Luke 23, Jesus is about to be murdered on the cross and in verse 34 he prays to his Father, God, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” before He died to answer His own prayer.
In the world, there are multiple counterfeits and alternatives to Jesus Christ and forgiveness including cancel culture, works religion, Karma, and Hell.
- Cancel culture is the idea that we “cancel”, banish, or shut out those who do wrong in society and culture rather than seeking to understand them and forgive them. If someone does something deemed wrong by our culture, then they are hereby cancelled and our society teaches us to dislike and disparage them and ultimately crucify their career with no hope of resurrection.
- Works religion is the mistaken idea that we can do more or work harder to make God love us. The truth is that He can’t love us anymore and won’t love us any less if we’re one of His children, and it’s His hope that we’ll turn to Him and have relationship with Him, knowing that we can never measure up on our own.
- Karma is especially popular in Eastern religions and is a type of cause and effect where its believed that good deeds lead to “good karma” and bad deeds lead to “bad karma”. This leaves no room for sin and forgiveness, as Christians believe.
- Hell is found many times throughout the Bible and is where those people will eternally reside as punishment for their continuously unrepentant sin and rejection of Christ (Matt. 13:41,50; Rev. 20:11-15, 21:8). It was originally designed for Satan and demons (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:10). It is eternal and irreversible (Rev. 14:11, 20:14-15).
The good news is this: In Jesus, there is forgiveness for all of your sin. He only asks us to give Him all of our sin and He, in turn, gives us all of his forgiveness and righteousness. He shows us how to forgive others, albeit imperfectly, so we can become more like Him and have a happy, healthy, hopeful life and future for ourselves and generations of our family.
Have you been tempted to participate in cancel culture in today’s society? How can you see it as a counterfeit of repentance and forgiveness and can you choose these positive alternatives in the future?
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