"Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds . . ." Wm Shakespeare

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Greatest Apology Ever

Been thinking over the past year, taking stock so-to-speak of the things that hurt me or caused offense by the words and/or actions of others.

I don't want to carry those things with me into the new year, I want to lay them to rest and begin a fresh new year with a fresh new heart.

I have to keep in mind that forgiveness is not a simple matter, it is at times so emotionally difficult to even consider forgiving someone that I must shut down or disregard my feelings and choose with my will to forgive that person and refuse to be offended by their behaviour. And, sometimes it takes more than one choice to forgive the same thing, trusting it's going down to another level, scraping, cleaning out all the little pockets of offense one transgression at a time. Seems to me a very wise man said we need to forgive 70 X 7. Well, I'm not sure I've had to forgive that many times for one hurt, but there have been hurts from one person it took me 8 years to finally lay to rest till I no longer feel the pain of their actions.

It's on that basis I submit the following thoughts..................

I believe the Cross was a Divine Apology from Jesus to us and from Jesus to God.

I think as Jesus hung on the cross, He looked at humanity said, “On behalf of all the people who sinned against you and hurt you, I’m sorry it happened to you. I’m apologizing to you by paying for those sins against you. Please forgive them.”

Then I think Jesus turned to God the Father and said, “Father, on behalf of these sinners here, I’m sorry for all the sins they committed and I’m apologizing to You for them by hanging on this cross. Please forgive Me on their behalf as I carry their sin. And Father, please forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.”

So that’s why I think the cross was the biggest apology ever.

Now, when someone hurts me, I imagine Jesus on the cross, saying, “Brenda, I’m sorry they hurt you. This should never have happened, but I hung on the cross to apologize for it and to lead you in the way of forgiveness. Because of the cross, I will take the hurt and offense from you. Will you forgive them and be free of this?”

You see, as Jesus hung there apologizing to the Father, He was saying, “Father I know they tried to apologize and make things right by all their sacrifices, but You and I know that didn’t work. So here I am, making apology for them.

When I imagine Jesus looking at broken humanity from the height of the cross, I see tears running down His face and that’s when I hear Him saying, “I am so sorry you’ve been hurt like this, but I’m paying the price for their sin against you, will you forgive them?”

When I think of Jesus on the cross paying the price for all sin, it makes it much easier to forgive the person responsible for hurting me. However, when I don’t forgive I’m hardening my heart and looking into the eyes of the gentlest Man that ever lived and say, “No it isn’t enough, the hurt is too bad for me to forgive.”

Really? The hurt is too bad? In the face of Jesus hanging on the cross AFTER all He endured before the cross, in the face of all his pain, I say my hurt is too bad to forgive? I make a mockery of His pain and suffering. I minimize the depth of pain He suffered as He took the weight of sin and disease from all humanity on His pain wracked body and say, “It isn’t enough, they don’t deserve it.”

The irony is that we don’t deserve to be forgiven either for our sin. The tragedy we don’t often understand is that forgiveness isn’t about the person who hurt us, about who deserves what or about letting them off the hook, it’s about us. It’s a gift from the Father given to set us free. Jesus will never let go of the sin done against us unless there has been full repentance and forgiveness from all parties. He will hold them accountable till the day of judgment. But, unless we forgive them, we will be ‘hooked’ to that person forever and it will have a toxic, poisoning effect on us all our lives. It will affect us physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially. It will affect our future relationships with everyone we are involved with. Most of all, it will affect our relationship with God the Father. He will not be able to forgive us our sins because we have not forgiven those who have sinned against us.

Close your eyes for a moment. Now think of one thing that someone has done to hurt you. Did someone betray your trust? Did they lie or gossip about you and hurt you? Did someone treat you unjustly? Have you been abused emotionally or physically?

Imagine you are looking at Jesus hanging on the cross. Imagine He is saying to you, “I am so sorry this happened to you. I’m hanging here for your sake. I’m hanging here to pay for that sin against you. Will you accept what I’m doing here as payment enough? Will you forgive them and be free?”

That’s the way to freedom and it’s wonderful. As you accept what Jesus did on that cross and forgive those who sinned against you, you will feel the weight of that sin fall away from you. We were not designed to carry such weights and that’s why Jesus said, “All who are weary and heavy laden, give me your burden . . . and I will give you rest.”

He alone can carry the weight of sin.

We were meant to live in the freedom Jesus bought for us on the cross.

May you find the peace only forgiveness can bring into your life.

bjb Dec. 09 ©

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