HEALING: The Seven Last Words — Measuring Stick of Forgiveness, by Matthew Linn and Dennis Linn

From Healing Life’s Hurts

To forgive as deeply as Christ forgives, you must be stretched by Christ’s mind until you can speak as he did his seven last words, his final attempt to forgive.  If a person has hurt you, Christ waits to say today through you the same words he spoke two thousand years ago at the cost of pain and life.


A. Pick one person who has hurt you (one you are not grateful for and would like to change).

B. Recreate in your imagination the scene of the hurt until you can feel anger, fear, and the
reaction you had when first hurt.  Share these feelings with Christ.

C. Take the first of Christ’s seven last words and ask forgiveness for any way your forgiveness
doesn’t match Christ’s forgiveness.

D. Looking at a crucifix, continue to say that last word until you can say it as Christ hurt within you
says it.  When you have the gift of being able to say that word as Christ does, fill in the cross for
that word and take the next one, until the entire cross is filled in as a sign of gratitude for your
life’s cross being transformed into the redeeming cross of Christ.


1. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

For the times I hated the sinner in another or myself rather than loved the sinner and prayed for the Father’s care, Lord, have mercy.

For being blind to the pressures and past hurts that make people unintentionally hurt me, Lord, have mercy.

For being more concerned about how others hurt me rather than how they hurt the Father, Lord, have mercy.

For not taking Christ’s initiative to forgive but waiting until others had earned my forgiveness by changing, Lord, have mercy.

2. This day you will be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43)

For relying too much on my own efforts to achieve the paradise of acceptance rather than asking and depending on your power, Lord, have mercy.

For allowing pain, criticism, or the projection of my own faults to blind me to the good in another, Lord, have mercy.

For the times my forgiveness did not begin “this day,” but days later, Lord, have mercy.

For not wanting another with me, closer than ever before, and sharing all I can give, Lord, have mercy.

 3. Son, behold your mother.  Mother, behold your son. (John 19:27)

For focusing on my own pain and loneliness rather than on my responsibility for the pain and loneliness that others feel, Lord, have mercy.

For treating other like strangers – judging, ignoring, hearing their words but ignoring their feelings, seldom asking for help – for being so slow in extending my family, Lord, have mercy.

For the times I ran from insults, humiliations, and hurts rather than standing on Calvary grateful to suffer with Christ and offer his love in return for abuse, Lord, have mercy.

For failing to change structures and utilize the gifts of others so that love is given even when I am gone, Lord, have mercy.

4. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46)

For feeling sorry for myself and failing to make forsaken times an opportunity to trust more in God and know that I could be closer than ever, Lord, have mercy.

For failing to see my own limitations in overreacting to the hurt, failing to build bridges, and acting coldly due to a history of other hurts, Lord, have mercy.

For equating closeness to God with feeling close rather than finding closeness with him in my neighbor, Lord, have mercy.

For trying to hide from God feelings I didn’t want to face – anger, fears, depression – and choking off my cry, “My God, my God. . . .”  Lord, have mercy.

5. I thirst. (John 19:28)

For not being tortured by a thirst for Christ’s view, Lord, have mercy.

For a thirst to escape pain rather than a thirst to love unto death and be hurt again and again in taking new risks to love, Lord, have mercy.

For failing to hunger and thirst for justice enough to prevent the hurts that happened to me, Lord, have mercy.

For adding to Christ’s thirst to love because closing my heart has closed other hearts and spread distrust around the Earth, Lord, have mercy.

6. It is finished. (John 19:30)

For feeling that forgiveness was accomplished if I felt comfortable rather than sensitized to others’ suffering and driven to heal their hurts and repair my destruction, Lord, have mercy.

For thinking I was finished when I asked God to forgive the evil in others and failed to see the same evil in myself or failed to forgive as much as God has forgiven me, Lord, have mercy.

For finishing a day without healing it so that my life tomorrow has direction and power to love without a backlog of hurts, Lord, have mercy.

7. Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. (Luke 23:46)

For failing to trust your hands by praying to release the spirit and heal to the degree that you alone can heal, Lord, have mercy.

For failing to see that Christ’s passion continues in my life and that the Father’s hands are always present drawing greater good from all suffering that I face with Christ’s view, Lord, have mercy.

For failing to let my hands become your hands to change what should be changed and for not letting your hands take what cannot be changed, Lord, have mercy.

For not seeing your hands everywhere and not thanking you for the growth and possible growth in loving you, others, and myself, Lord, have mercy.

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