Immediately following his agonizing crucifixion and supernatural resurrection, the first time Jesus appeared to the whole bunch, he breathed peace and the power of his Spirit over his disciples, and said, “If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them? John 20:22-23, The Message. That last line stopped me cold.
I would have expected words of comfort for the fear and dejection they had experienced in the last few days.
What happened to Jesus? Where was he during those dark hours? What did it feel like? How was his body changed? How’d he get in the room with the doors locked against the world? What would happen to Him now, to all of them?
Instead, Jesus tells them the point of his resurrection power is forgiveness.
Then I recall the words he gasped from the cross. “Father, forgive them they know not what they do.”
All right. I know He took our sins to the cross. But giving us the power to forgive sins?
“If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?”
Good question. What am I doing with sins against me?
God often speaks to me in mental pictures. As I ponder this, I see an image of me, navigating life with my hands full, cradling scars from childhood when someone hurt me deeply or wounded me by neglect, or from a painful relationship, or rage against the one who abused my children . . . (It goes on, and I’m sure you can write your own list.)
With my hands full, I have nothing to help me make my way through the tough places,
or to receive any gifts,
or to offer assistance to others.
I have to ask, who is being hindered the most now by my holding onto sin against me?
In the light of this, holding on seems preposterous.
So I journey on, forgiving some easily. With the others, deeper wounds from those who should have been the most loving, I have struggled.
Sometimes all I’ve managed is wanting to let go. And for a while, that was enough. The beginning of that road.
But as I felt the call to grow, no amount of sheer effort would make it happen.
I’ve come back around to the breathing part. Jesus breathes his spirit on us to give us the power to really live. The life we were created to live.
It’s pure gift. As I open my hands and heart, and welcome that breath, something in me is transformed.
Lord, breathe on me, giving me the peace the world cannot give, and the power to let go of sins, mine and those of others that have burdened me for way too long. Thank you for new life power.
Is there a struggle on your journey?