“…that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.”
-2 Corinthians 5:19
As writer Sitikant Mahapatra said, “Since all of us sin, we will be incapable of redemption unless we learn to forgive. We can’t remove the black stain of sin which only God can.”
The first step to forgiving and healing our separation with others is to return to God. He made an offering for our sins through the sinless life of Jesus. Christ embraced an unjust death for the death of Jesus on the Cross, the atonement, was the exchange in which all evil due to us came upon Christ, that all the good due to Him might be made available to us. He was wounded that we might be healed. He died that we might have life. He was made sin that we might be made righteousness. He was rejected that we might be accepted. If you are reading this and you have not experienced this kind of love, He is waiting to bring you into His arms. If you have not felt the burden of guilt lifted through Christ’s forgiveness, please read Day 30: “You Can Know Peace.”
Before we can begin our journey of forgiveness and reconciliation with others, we must first begin it with Jesus. The moment we embrace His sacrifice, we are brought into restored relationship with God. Scripture declares, “God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6) Following Jesus is not about religion or ritual, it is about personal relationship. He cares for us. In this way, we are free to approach God just as we are, bringing our failures and personal story of brokenness into the realm of His love. Sometimes it is hard to imagine that God could love us so much. Yet He does.
Have you ever wondered why God created you in His image? Sadhu Sunder Singh wrote, “Man is the crown of His creation,” and herein Singh captures the heart of our Creator. From the very beginning, God intended humankind to walk near to Him.
It is written in Genesis, “God created man in His own image…male and female He created them.” Why did God create man and woman in His image? There must have been many beautiful trees and animals. He could have created mankind after one of those designs. So, why did He choose to model man and woman after Himself? It was for the purpose of love relationship. Though it is possible to enjoy the wind blowing through a tree or to talk to an animal, yet the relationship there would be limited because we do not share the same image. It’s only when you are formed in the same likeness, that you share the capacity for the same type of relationship. Since “God is love,” He created mankind in His image to be a vessel of that love. Man and woman were formed both to receive His love and to give of His love freely.
Walking in right relationship with Him is the beginning for walking in right relationship with others. Draw near to Him now, “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4) His love exchanges acceptance for our rejection, comforts our traumas, and heals our wounds. The scripture records something wonderful about love, “Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:8) It is the power of this Love that grips our hand on our life-journey of forgiveness.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39
“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’” -Romans 8:15
“Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’” -Galatians 4:6