During his online class with Oprah reviewing chapter 5 of his book A New Earth, Eckhart Tolle quoted Jesus concerning forgiveness and unconsciousness among people who are spiritually wayward.
Tolle: “Jesus on the cross said it all when He says, ‘Forgive them for they know not what they do.’ Which means they are unconscious. So when you realize that you naturally forgive.”
Tolle mentions a unique insight when referring to the words of Christ. Jesus could see that the people were being influenced and governed by a spirit other than God’s Holy Spirit. Therefore Jesus could see beyond their dysfunction and immorality. Christ knew they were not being led by the Holy Spirit, but were driven by evil spirits and self-willed agendas to fulfill their own lusts (or the lusts of the spirits driving them).
God who is love certainly doesn’t give man a spirit to kill innocent human beings, as did the Romans and Jews who slayed Christ.
Jesus said of the devil, “He was a murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44). The Lord Jesus recognized what spirit people were of and being led by often.
Jesus said to the scribes and Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Jesus even rebuked His own disciples on one occasion when they thought to kill and take vengeance into their own hands.
When some people rejected Jesus, His disciples became angry and said, “Lord, will you allow us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, even as Elijah did?” (Luke 9:54)
Jesus sternly rebuked them saying, “You don’t know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them” (Luke 9:55-56).
Jesus knew and exemplified the heart of God to humanity, which was unconditional love and acceptance. Therefore Christ could lovingly look beyond people’s sin and draw them to Him. This is the essence of forgiveness, seeing people through the eyes and heart of a loving God.