“Father Forgive Them…”

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”   John 13:35
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES     A mom recently took me aside to share something her son had told her about my boys. His words were, “Zack and Mason are so nice to each other. They’re really great brothers.” My heart swelled with extreme pride.
     As moms, we teach and reteach, intervene and smooth over. Most times we feel we’re just spinning our wheels, thinking it’s all falling on deaf ears. I’ve even been tempted to record myself so when my kids squabble, I can just hit “play” to save my breath.
     But hearing a compliment like this makes it all worth it. Not only am I proud of my boys for treating each other well, but I’m proud of them for doing so when I wasn’t around to police them. That is one of my greatest goals: to have children who “love one another.”
     I think my kids love each other because it brings them joy. They enjoy giving love, and they enjoy receiving it. It makes perfect sense that this was Jesus’ greatest command. He knew that loving one another leads to true happiness. What doesn’t make sense is why more people don’t get this? What pierces my heart is that terrorists choose to do the exact opposite.

     What happened in Belgium devastates me. I’m not quite sure why this act of terrorism is impacting me more than all the others. Maybe it’s because one of my Lenten goals was to really journey through this desert time of mourning. Maybe in doing so I’ve stripped myself bare, leaving me more vulnerable and raw than usual.
     Most likely, it’s that cruel and senseless act juxtaposed against that day’s Gospel reading to “love one another.” If and when I ever doubt that following Christ is the right thing to do, this Scripture passage affirms me. Jesus was always about forgiveness, peace and love. What baffles me is why more people don’t choose to believe in a God who is pure love?
     What baffles me even more is why people would subscribe to a faith that advocates violence and the killing of innocent people. Don’t they ever stop and think about what they’re doing? Don’t they ever question why they promote hatred in the name of religion? Don’t they ever want a faith and lifestyle that encourages love instead? Don’t they ever yearn for true happiness and peace in the depths of their souls?
     I suppose Jesus had the exact same questions as He hung on the cross on Good Friday all those centuries ago. If I truly want to be His disciple and “love one another,” I need to say what He said, and try to mean it: “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

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