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While meditating on the Cross, we better appreciate 'painful' forgiveness

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God, in Jesus Christ, teaches us to love our enemies.

Certainly Jesus gave us the supreme example from His Cross. After all, as God Almighty, He could have reigned down fire and brimstone on the judgmental Pharisees and cruel Romans.

Rather, He reigned down compassion and forgiveness on His persecutors.

So, why is it so hard for me to love my neighbor?

My first reaction, as usual, is to point my finger at them in a spirit of blame. And I am not totally wrong. I was raised by an abusive and unappreciative father. I have been graced with a family which is all too comfortable with forgetting that I ever existed. I have had my share of 'friends' and foes who worked hard at reminding me of my faults and weaknesses, while spreading their peacock wings in a flimsy show of attempted superiority.

Yet, I always seem to forget my own faults, sins, and peacock behavior.

Only in the shadow of the Cross do I see things clearly.

For I see only One Savior, and He is not me! I also see two thieves next to Him, and I am sometimes the cruel one on His right, blaspheming Him, and sometimes the repentant one on His left, begging for Mercy. Sometimes I am the Pharisee, reigning judgment on everyone else's sin. Sometimes, regretably, I am just a sadistic Roman executioner, lashing out at whomever is closest to me.

From my upward view at the foot of the Cross, at the feet of the Crucified One, I see no one being pierced in the Heart but Jesus. And I see no one doing the piercing but me.

And, yet again, I hear Him say, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.'

That is why I believe in Jesus amidst so much persecution.