As I have grown in understanding and knowledge about my faith, I have come to realize that one of the hardest parts, in my opinion, about being a Christian is forgiveness. When I say forgiveness, I am not only talking about forgiveness towards others, but also towards yourself.
Sin is inevitable; we sin repeatedly every single day just because we are humans and humans are imperfect. That’s just it. We choose ourselves and Earth over God and Heaven more than we are even aware of. Sin is pretty hardcore, if you ask me. By that, I mean it’s not something I’d resort to bringing up when conversation dies down at the dinner table. It’s hard to recognize our wrongdoings, our sin, because us as perfectionists don’t like to think that we do anything wrong. I am definitely that way. And if you are sitting here thinking “I am always quick to own up to my mistakes!”, you are probably actively participating into the denial I was just speaking about. When it all comes down to it, we are all imperfect. Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That is true. We all are kinda messy. But I don’t want to write about our messiness as much as I want to write about how God said enough is enough, and how on this day thousands of years ago it became finished.
Today is Good Friday. If you’re anything like who I was years ago when I confused Black Friday and Good Friday, here’s a quick explanation for you: on this day thousands of years ago, Jesus was at the last supper, following which he was captured and crucified. He, the only person on Earth who was sinless and therefore not deserving of death, took all of our sin and shame on the cross with him so that we didn’t have to carry that weight anymore. Three days later Jesus defeated death and rose to be in Heaven with the Father. Because Jesus loved us sinners so much that He would die for us, we get the opportunity to be in relationship with God and have the Holy Spirit, God’s power, working in us, upon our acceptance of Christ, and in the world around us. Basically, Jesus taking our sin when He didn’t deserve it then defeating death gave salvation to humanity for the rest of forever. No big deal.
Just kidding. It’s a really big deal. Let’s go back to my first paragraph about forgiveness. Even knowing that we are forgiven by God through His son, it is still very difficult to be forgiving towards others and ourselves. You know that shameful feeling that you get when you think about a big mistake you made a long time ago? You know that feeling you get when others forgive you for a mistake you made, but for some reason you can’t forgive yourself? Are you silently battling regrets or carrying the immense weight of self-made shame? Mad at a friend? Gone. You don’t have to feel that anymore. Jesus took that on the cross with Him, nailing it to the cross, now you just have to be willing to give it up, and take on the joy of the Lord instead.
I challenge you all this Easter weekend, as I am also challenging myself, to sacrifice any worries, regrets, self-made shame, and/ or guilt to Jesus. I challenge you to forgive those who you don’t think deserve it, because when it all comes down to it none of us deserve the salvation we get through Jesus, and the Lord calls us to love our friends the same way Jesus loves us. Forgive yourselves. Forgive your friends. Lay it all at the foot of the cross. Forgiveness isn’t easy, so pray to the Lord for the ability to stop fighting a battle that has already been won. Most importantly of all, praise God for his unending grace and love for us, and that He would send his only Son to die for us so that we could be in relationship with Him and know Him when we really didn’t deserve it.
Here’s to not having to carry the weight of our sins anymore. Here’s to the power of the Lord working in and around us on Earth forever. Here’s to the love and compassion of the Lord on his children. It is finished. God is good! Happy Easter.
“But when the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because his mercy, he saved us through the bath of the rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.” Titus 3: 4-7