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By Lois Parker Edstrom
Let’s pretend. Suppose you decided to empty out the toy box and spread the toys all over the house. Maybe you were having fun and you did not think about what you were doing. Whatever the reason, someone needs to tidy up the house and put the toys away. Who do you think should do it? Usually the person who scattered things around is the person who should clean up the clutter. That would be you, although there are times when other kind people may offer to help.
Now let’s pretend that your friend came over, took all the toys out of the toy box and spread them around your house. Maybe there are building blocks on the living room floor, dolls in the kitchen, balls and marbles in the dining room, paints and crayons in the bathroom and some of the paint has spilled on the floor. There is a lot of tidying up to be done. Suppose, after your friend leaves, your mother asks you to put the toys away and tidy up the house. You would probably do what your mother asked you to do, but you might grumble a bit and argue, “I’m not responsible for this mess.” You might even feel that you are being punished for something you didn’t do.
When Jesus lived on earth there were people who punished him, yet he had done nothing wrong. Jesus did not make bad choices. He did not hurt anyone. He lived a life free from mistakes and sin.
Although he had done nothing wrong, Jesus prayed for those who wanted to harm him. He prayed to his Heavenly Father and said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing”(23:34). Jesus forgave the people who punished him and he asked God to forgive them too.
We all make mistakes and we all do things we shouldn’t do. Because Jesus was an example of forgiveness and took on the responsibility for all of our mistakes and sins, we are able to pray to God and be forgiven for our bad choices.
Scripture quotations from the World English Bible
Copyright 2008, Richard Niell Donovan