Recently I was privileged to watch a husband/wife in the middle of a conversation. It was a pretty random conversation with some friends, they were talking about music, and she made the remark, “You know those old school record players? Like when we were kids? I’ve always wanted one of those!” She certainly wasn’t saying that to drop a hint for him to go buy the gift. It was just a random conversation about how cool it is that “record players” have made a comeback in this age of technology.
The most interesting thing about that conversation, however, was to watch the face of her husband. When she said, “I’ve always wanted one of those!” it was so subtle, but yet also so visible. He took note of what she wanted.
I wasn’t surprised at all to get a phone call from her a few weeks later, “You aren’t going to guess what 🙂 got me! Just out of the blue! I didn’t know he knew I wanted one!”
I asked her if she remembered the conversation we’d had several weeks ago about music. And explained that it was the coolest thing to watch what deep love looks like. I shared with her that as she talked, he listened. And without making a big deal about anything, when she said she “wanted” something, I suspected he made mental note. Because that’s how much he loves her. He pays attention to her wants and her needs.
Isn’t that the best kind of gift? One we really want and/or need, but we receive it without even asking?
In the first phrase we have from Jesus as he hung on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) we see that lived out.
The crowd did not move from jeering and mocking to sudden pleas for forgiveness.
Yet, in his divinity and absolute sacrificial love, that is the gift Christ gave.
“Forgive them . . . I forgive them. They do not get it, they don’t understand . . . they don’t know what they are doing . . .”
He gave the gift of forgiveness without anyone asking him for it.
How often do we model that in our own lives?
It’s really cool to give tangible things, words of affirmation, acts of service to the people we care about but it is a different thing altogether to offer forgiveness when we are wronged. And it’s even more powerful and transformative when we offer it without having ever been asked for it. If it is just a gift we give to those in our midst.
Forgiveness is hard. Especially when we’ve been hurt and carry the wounds from that pain.
But life comes when we recognize that hurting people hurt people, and more often than not, people simply don’t know what they are doing when they hurt us. So, how different would it be if instead of waiting on others to figure out that something is ajar in our relationships, we take the first step, and forgive them.
That act is one that is absolutely and in totality life-giving.
Who can you offer unconditional, and also unasked for, forgiveness to today?