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Forgiveness

As we continue in our examination and application of The Amidah, the next section focuses on the subject of forgiveness:

Forgive us, O our Father, for we have sinned;
pardon us, O our King, for we have transgressed; for you pardon and forgive.
Blessed are you, O Lord, who is merciful and always ready to forgive.

After we repent (from the previous section – literally, “to change our mind” and our subsequent actions), there needs to be a time when we must confess that we have gone astray from what God intended and directed, confess those sins, and ask forgiveness.

Scripture tells us that “…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Hebrews 9:22b).
Scripture also tells us that Jesus, during the Last Supper, said as he administered communion to His disciples, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)

So we see from Scriptures that in order for forgiveness to ultimately happen, something (or someone) had to die.  In the Old Testament, a spotless lamb was sacrified for the sins of the people.  This was not a final payment for sins, but simply a covering, a temporary fix for a permanent problem.  In the New Testament, John the Baptist introduces Jesus by saying, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29).  Jesus offered Himself as the permanent  sacrifice for our sins, dying once for all – past, present, and future.

So we see that God sacrificed His Son once for all our sins… what does forgiveness look like in our life?  In the same way, something has to die.  In our case, the death is not of someone or something external to us, but instead, internal to us.  What might these “somethings” be?  Here are a few to consider:

  • Fears
  • Shame
  • Grief over a loss
  • Unmet Expectations

Are fears, shame, grief, and unmet expectations real?  Very real.  Do they hurt?  They are excruciating.  Do they matter?  Absolutely.  Do we let them define us?  No.  We don’t have to deny that we have those feelings and emotions, but we must not let them define who we are.  We must ask for Christ’s help and say, “Yes this happened, this is how I feel, and by God’s grace, I am letting this die in my life.  It is a part of my past, but is no longer a significant factor in who I am in Christ.”

C.S. Lewis, in his book “The Problem of Pain”, said, “We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

When we forgive ourselves and forgive others, just as God has forgiven us, we experience healing, and God uses us in our broken state.  Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

Let forgiveness happen, and let the healing begin.  Painful and hard, but so worth it.

Forgiven by God, asking forgiveness from others, and forgiving others,
kevin

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