Forgiveness Indifference

If you want to read a jarring juxtaposition, take a look at Luke 23:34:  And Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And parting his garments among them, they cast lots.

The first half of the verse records some of the most gracious words ever spoken.  Even after being unjustly accused by religious leaders, denied legal protection by a vacillating Roman governor, and crucified by Roman soldiers, Jesus asks His Father to forgive His tormentors.  He appeals for mercy on behalf of those had shown Him none.  He even puts their despicable actions in the best possible light: “They know not what they do.” 

Now for the contrast.

The back half of the verse tells what was going on at the foot of the cross while Jesus hung upon it.  The soldiers, oblivious to His suffering or His prayer, throw dice to see who will get His garments.  Instead of valuing His death, they head to Value Village to for used clothing.  Instead of marveling at His mercy, they grab His garments.  Unconcerned with eternal realities like sin or forgiveness, they focus on the temporal stuff of earth. They are indifferent to forgiveness.

Not much has changed in the past two thousand years.  Good Friday will come again this week and most people will be only thinking of a lockdown and a long weekend.  Maybe Easter dinner or March Madness.  It’s madness indeed. 

It’s easy to decry the indifference of the Roman soldiers or the people next door.  It’s harder to examine our own hearts.  To look in the mirror and ask, “Do I feel the sting of my sin that contributed to Jesus’ suffering and death?  Have I grown callous to His groanings?  Am I still amazed by grace?  When it comes to forgiveness, am I any different than the indifferent?”

Genuine faith in Christ will not let us stay unmoved by the glorious gift of forgiveness through Christ’s substitutionary, sacrificial death.  Faith in Christ always goes together with love for Christ. As Augustine wrote, “You believe in Christ, you see, when you both hope in Christ and love Christ.” 

Those of us who believe in Christ as Saviour and Lord will want to keep Him central in our hearts—even on a lockdown Easter weekend.  We will express our love for Him through our words and by our lives.  Afterall, love is never indifferent.

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