Pastor's Passage

Pastor’s Passage

April 2022


I wonder how many people in Hermantown, MN, have experienced some form of abuse by a family member or a trusted relative or “friend” of the family. The statistics are very disturbing. It is so painful to hear people I care about tell me how someone who was supposed to be caring for them and protecting them instead harmed them by abusing them sexually or physically or emotionally. People who God put on this earth to love and care for other people, reject God’s love and His ways, and end up creating life-long pain and suffering and scars in the heart and soul and body of those they abuse. I was talking to a victim of abuse on one occasion. And I could tell that the pain of the abuse was still preventing this friend from experiencing all the goodness of the life God gives and wants us to enjoy. As he shared his painful story, the first words of Jesus, that He spoke after having been brutally tortured and nailed to a Roman cross, came to mind. Jesus said, “Father forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” I’d like you to ask yourself if these words might be helpful to you, or someone you are trying to help, who may be still suffering from some wrong that was done to them.


Please ask God to help you understand His love and His Word while you read the words in their context.  Luke 23:26–34 says, “And as they led [Jesus] away [to crucify Him], they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for Him. 28But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” 32Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with Him. 33And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (The Holy Bible ESV - 2016 Crossway Bibles)


If you are still in some way emotionally paralyzed by the traumatic abuse you have endured (or trying to help someone like that), I would like you to consider that these words of Jesus might very well be a way for you to experience healing and freedom.  Please consider the following:

  1. Jesus never did anything wrong. “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. (John 3:17) Jesus never sinned against anyone. He only showed God’s love and came to save.
  2. Yet Jesus was brutally flogged, which often killed the victim before they could be crucified. He was spit upon, verbally ridiculed and insulted, had his beard ripped out, had a crown of thorns pounded down upon his head, and then he was literally nailed to a Roman cross of execution.
  3. After all that agony, all that abuse, the very first words out of His mouth while hanging on that cross were, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


So many years after the abuse, the victim is so often still bitter and broken inside. Could forgiveness provide some healing? I think we can all understand why the concept of forgiving those who have harmed us is hard to consider. Please note Jesus’ rational for forgiving His abusers. He says they don’t know what they are doing. People do so much evil not really knowing what they’re doing. This doesn’t get anyone off the hook for the evil they do. We will all stand before God as Judge one day. No one is getting away with anything! We can "let it go" knowing that God will deal with that person's sin. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. We have all sinned against God, but Jesus came to set us free. I pray that you will be free in the forgiveness that Christ gives and makes possible.

Pastor Mike