Its a phrase that is always hard to say to a friend, and even harder to hear from one. Its a statement of complete remorse that painfully stitches up the wounds of a wrong.
Its tough to ask for and sometimes an enormous challenge to give to someone. We often hold on so tightly to our grudges against our siblings, against the world, stewing in the anger or frustration that we believe to be so righteous.
But let it go.
Oftentimes we focus so much on Easter Sunday, but we sometimes fail to recognize the magnitude of what happened today almost 2,000 years ago. See, today was the day that Christ died, the day that His blood poured out of His body satisfying God's demand for a righteous sacrifice for the sins of humanity. The price of man's sin had to be paid--and that price was death.
A death that Christ gave Himself to willingly.
Because of that death, the cost of every sin of the world--past, present, future--was fully paid. The ledgers of debt were cleared, the negative balance was erased. And every sin--past, present, and future--was forgiven.
This is a fact that we so often overlook--that everyone has been fully and completely forgiven. You don't have to belong to a megachurch; you don't have to sing in the choir; you don't have to be the perfect father, mother, or sibling; you don't have to have a clean record; you don't have to be straight.
It has all been forgiven.
When I step out my front door, I sometimes can't help but look at the world with a skeptical eye, writing it off in my mind as a total, decadent, twisted loss. I turn and look into the mirror of my circle of friends and family, and see us as so much better than the world, those very special few who have a message of righteousness and love to bestow to those we choose. But I forget that Christians all were forgiven just as much as the rest of the world. We've just chosen to recognize the fact. But the fact that we ignore was that Good Friday wasn't about creating elitists, but about destroying the barrier between us and God's love.
When Christ walked the earth, He didn't selectively pick and choose the righteous rulers to become His comrades; He spent His time and ate His meals with fishermen, with tax collectors, with prostitutes. His love was for the scum of society, the people that the righteous looked upon with repugnance. And when He died, He forgave them all. Even against the soldiers who provided His cruel and painful death, He refused to hold a grudge. "Father, forgive them."
I firmly believe that you cannot be a Christian if you do not accept Christ's love for you. I firmly believe that you cannot be a Christian and refuse to share Christ's love for the entire world. Yes, God is just; consequences will come for where we all have abandoned Christ in our lives; but we get hung up on proclaiming God's great wrath and justice and forget to explain that every single one of us has been forgiven. We can't selectively choose to discriminate against people just because their sins stand out more or smell worse than the sins of the person next to them. We cannot shut the doors to the Church simply because someone has tried to find love in drugs, alcohol, pornography, or homosexuality.
We so often urge unbelievers to not waste the gift of forgiveness that Christ's death provides, but I think it is often we who waste this gift by forgetting that every person is loved and is forgiven by Christ. We write the person off as a total loss, failing to see the forgiven soul under the sinful flesh.
Friends, do not forget the reason for Christ's sacrifice.
It is hard to forgive someone, yes. My brother? Its hard. Myself? Doubly hard. The world? The challenge of a lifetime.
But it all has been forgiven by Christ. Shall we do the same?
[You say let it go]
When you feel like you're damaged goods, broken by your past or by your life, remember: every fiber of your being is loved, and every wrong deed in your history was washed away by the crimson sacrifice of Christ today.