Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34
When we think of pain, usually we think of some kind of suffering that’s associated with a physical disease or injury. But as we well know, pain also occurs when there is acute mental or emotional distress. We don’t like painful experiences that come our way, and our natural response is to seek revenge on a person who (in our minds) has “deliberately” inflicted pain on us. Our thoughts go to, “What can we do to make this person hurt also?” Slander is often the means that’s used. If we could somehow publish the offender’s faults and shortcomings – you know, just “telling the truth,” that person would be degraded to where they suffer pain too. Oh, but there is a way, and it’s called the internet, and there are way too many people that love to vent on Facebook. This may relieve some of the pent-up feelings for that individual, but in the meantime, they may have extremely damaged the reputation of another person or even a whole church.
When Jesus was crucified and hanging on the cross, we see Him dealing with His pain in a completely different way. He had been unjustly nailed to a cross. The injury to His body was horrible and the pain was intense. On a scale of 1-10, His physical pain had to have registered at least a 10. But then, there was also the ridicule and mockery and rejection that caused acute mental and emotional pain that had to reach the level of 10. But Jesus did something extraordinary and even miraculous that took care of all the feelings of vengeance. He forgave. He forgave the ones who were inflicting the pain! That’s amazing.
We remember too, that there were two thieves crucified with Jesus who suffered pain along with Him as they hung on their own crosses. Besides the physical suffering, they carried the pain of guilt and condemnation. One of them confessed his sinfulness, and acknowledged that Jesus was innocent, and expressed faith in Him. Jesus responded with the promise of paradise, which meant this thief’s sins were forgiven and he could look forward to freedom from pain forever.
Jesus is indeed, the great pain eliminator. When we are hurt, let’s take it to Jesus, and let’s choose to forgive. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus tells us to ask the Father to “forgive us our sins as we also have forgiven those who sin against us(Matthew 6:12).