Forgiveness is when we let go of all the weight that is dragging us away from God. We forgive others so we can let the pain go. We forgive ourselves so that we can become the person we were created to be.
There is an old folk tale about a chicken hawk that found an egg. Chicken Hawks are notorious for stealing other bird’s eggs, hatching them and raising the young as their own. Oh, and Chicken Hawks cannot fly. This particular chicken hawk hatched the egg and out popped an eagle. The eagle grew up with the chicken hawks and since that was all he ever saw, he thought he was an eagle. One day, he looked up and saw an eagle fly by and he thought to himself, “boy, I wish I could fly. But I am only a chicken hawk.” And spent the rest of his days walking on the ground, never realizing that he was meant to fly.
This is what sin does to us - it clouds our thoughts and makes it so we never realize who we were made to be.
it is an infection. Paul said: “Sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12). In other words, Adam’s sin infected the entire world - its in our blood and the only way to get rid of it is with a blood transfusion. It has to be taken out and new blood put in. Paul also said: “For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous” (Romans 5:19). Peter said it this way: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (1 Peter 1:19-20)
In the law of Moses (Lev. 16), we see a unique part of the sacrifice of atonement. Every year, the people of Israel would stand before God and admit that they were not perfect - and that they had made mistakes, but that they wanted to restore their relationship with their God. So during the burnt offering, the high priest would have two lambs. The first would be killed so that the people could see the blood and be reminded that they are getting a ‘blood transfusion’ and being changed to meet with God. But then the priest takes the other lamb and confesses the sins of the people while he is holding it. And then he gives it to a man who takes it into the deepest part of the wilderness and releases it. It carries the guilt and baggage of the people far away - showing them that their sins have been removed.
Jesus was both lambs for us. On the cross, He bled to give us a blood transfusion. And then he was the scapegoat that carried our sins away from us.
This gives us two very important things to remember:
This is why we need Jesus and why we need to take very serious what He has done for us. It is not to be taken lightly because not only is your eternity at stake, but you are causing pain to the one that loves you enough to take the pain for you.
This is discipleship.