Today, in church, just after Communion, I found myself thinking about all those people who did me wrong in life. I don't know why I thought of them. Somehow, they all came to mind!
There have been several people who have hurt me over the years. All individual incidents which have come and gone, the people involved are no longer in my life, and I've survived most of the wrongdoings done to me. There are times when after the wrong has been done and has stopped, you still have to live with the after-effects of the wrong for the rest of your life. But I'm doing well.
In my thoughts I wondered, were all these people evil? Bad people who set out to do wrong? Or were they misguided? Influenced by some other evil, perhaps the devil? Or were they just plain stupid? Idiots following their beliefs and self-important opinions to the detriment of someone else - me.
I concluded that in most cases they were not really evil. But I had to forgive them all the same, even though I realise now they were fools.
When Christ hung there on the Cross, He said, "Forgive them because they don't know what they are doing." Not because they are evil.
The Jewish leaders and their followers thought they were defending the Law. The Law given to them by Abraham, Moses and the prophets. They were defending their positions as leaders. They feared a Roman response in their occupied land.
Yet here they had amongst them the very Son of God and they could not see it. They were blinded by their own beliefs and prejudices. Perhaps aided and abetted by the devil as he did to Judas.
They crucified the Son of God.
Was it pure evil? Misguided judgement? Or a bit of both?
"Forgive them, they don't know what they are doing."