How can you put into practice the prayer of Jesus: "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing?"
Lord, may the joy of who You are indwell my heart, and may I sing Your praise at all times.
Consider: Meditate on the Lord's Prayer, especially the phrase, "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors" (Matt. 6:9-13).
We do not know who the psalmist's enemies are. Whether they are fighting him in the law-court or in battle, scheming against him through slander and gossip or using sorcery and spells, their evil and hateful intentions are combined with powerful strategies to do him harm. Such words are hard to read. We resonate with the pain and anger expressed, but we know that the God of love we serve was able to forgive his accusers on the cross (Luke 23:34), showing mercy at the same time as judging the severity of sin through his death and resurrection.
The psalm contains the longest curse in the Bible (6-20). The psalmist then prays for a right response to such cursing (21-29), that God will act and not keep silent. The psalmist does not yet know of the forgiveness we have in Christ and expresses his desire for vindication and judgment on his enemies, even with the desire for revenge. What are we to make of this blunt, outright call for justice? We should affirm it! The balance between mercy, truth, righteousness and peace (Psa. 85:10) has not yet been achieved, and the process of working towards this cannot be short-circuited.
Orthodox Jews pray each night: "I hereby forgive anyone who has angered me or provoked me or sinned against me physically or financially or by failing to give me due respect, or in any other matter relating to me, involuntarily or willingly, inadvertently or deliberately, whether in word or deed: let no one incur punishment because of me." Knowing the true forgiveness we have in Christ, such is our prayer too.
How can you put into practice the prayer of Jesus, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing"?
Lord Jesus, I think of all You went through to accomplish my salvation. You responded to rejection and hostility with forgiveness. Hallelujah, what a Savior!