Clara did not sit in her regular pew. It was too painful to be that close to Susan. The wound of the hurtful words was still too fresh. Clara did not want any contact with her and thought it possible to manage avoiding Susan by sitting on the opposite side of the sanctuary.
Susan rushed in late and sat in the first empty pew she saw. It was two pews down and directly in front of Clara.
Clara’s anger rekindled. How dare Susan be so blatantly insensitive to her hurt feelings? When Clara drug her attention off Susan to the church service, she heard the pastor reading Luke 23:34.
And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
How did Jesus do that? But he could because he was Jesus. No normal person would be able to forgive that brutality. Susan blatantly hurt me. I do not want to ever see her again. Thoughts excusing her lack of forgiveness toward Susan wallowed in Clara’s mind.
Then the pastor explained that the Greek tense used in this passage meant that Jesus had said the words repeatedly. He probably uttered these words when wrongful accusations were made, when he was spat on, when they beat him, when they pushed the crown of thorns on his head, when they mocked him. During each insulting and physically painful event, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do.”
Clara prayed, “Lord, forgive me for I do not realize my sin. Give me a forgiving heart toward Susan. Use me as a witness of your love. Create in me a forgiving heart.”
After the service, Clara humbly approached Susan. “Susan, I am so sorry for what happened. Please forgive me.”
They tentatively mended the relationship rift. It would take some time to completely heal.