We knew it was wrong, but we did it anyway; hurting and turning away from both human and God. In essence, hammering the nails into the flesh ourselves…

I listened to a sermon message from my former Pastor (Brian Diebold) tonight.  I paraphrase:

“Forgiveness—God dealt with our sins and all of the wrongs on the cross by saying ‘It is finished’.  God loves us in a way we can’t even imagine and His forgiveness of our sins is powerful beyond measure.

Now, it doesn’t undo what happened but it transforms the wrongs and it transforms us. It opens the prison doors, and gives it a new story.  Because He forgives us, we have the power to forgive others. (This does not mean we should stay in unsafe situations, we must get away from anyone doing physical, emotional and other types of harm to us. There is always a ‘trust but verify wisdom’ we must carry with us always). 

Forgiveness does not make what happened ok; forgiveness is giving up the notion of revenge and it’s not holding the sin or hurt against the person.  It’s not forgetting—it’s when those feelings creep in, we remember that we forgave, and in doing so, we are not letting it have a strangle hold on us.

We must forgive from heart.  ‘I can lift my hand Lord, help me do the rest, supply the feeling to me.’  Are there things in your life that hurt too much, things that you can’t let go?  Meet God half way.  Lift your hand to reach out to the other, let God fill you with the love and power to move to the embrace; to show this power to the one who wronged us.”

As I sit in quiet reflection with the message, I know I have been on both sides.  I have committed wrongs and have been wronged.  I have caused hurts, I have carried guilt and shame; I have carried anger and resentment for far too long.  It’s in these moments that I must come into conversation with God; that I must return to the promises given to us in the Resurrection.  It is here that He wraps His arms around me and I am reminded of His infinite grace, mercy, forgiveness and love.  It is here I find my center and feel the light in my soul grow brighter.

It is here I feel the power of the Holy Spirit working through me and it is in His death on the cross, in the death He endured for me, for all of us, that I feel the love, power and forgiveness that I must spread to others.

As you celebrate on this Easter Sunday, may you find new life, new light, and a renewed desire that allows you to forgive yourself and to forgive those who have wronged you, even if they have never apologized.  Most importantly, allow your heart to be open and receptive to receiving the forgiveness of others and the forgiveness & love of God.

Happy Easter!  He is Risen!