Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. Luke 23:34
First, my friends, it appears from the text that there are unknown depths in human iniquity: “They know not what they do.” You will tell me, perhaps, that Christ applied this remark to His murderers, who did not know that He was the Son of God; for, if they had known Him to be the Messiah, “They would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1Co 2:8); and it might have been said to them, “Ye did it ignorantly in unbelief” (1Ti 1:13). I grant you that this was the immediate meaning of Christ’s words; but, I think…this saying is true of the entire human family. Whenever any of us sin, we know not what we do.
Do not misunderstand me. There is no man in the world who has not enough perception left to teach him the difference between right and wrong…Yet I must admit at the outset that it is possible for the conscience to become so blind through prevailing customs, so seared through lengthened habit, and so perverted through absolute ignorance that men may sin and yet know not what they do…Let me show you, as briefly and forcibly as I can, how this is the fact.