Have you ever gotten something you haven’t deserved?
It doesn’t happen often, or I should say, it doesn’t seem like it happens often.
I have a friend who was wronged by another friend. In discussions about the situation, with the hopes of reconciling the situation, I have found that there must come a point and time where the person who is wronged must be willing to move from the painful transgression and start the process of healing. In effect, the wronged person must give up their right to be angry, be hurt, and even to some extent…be right. It doesn’t mean the hurt magically goes away. You are never angry or frustrated that the situation happened, but it does mean that you are putting that person back into right standing in your assessment. This usually is a process that takes quite some time, and yet it begins when the decision is made to stop the regression and begin the reconciling of the two sides.
In that instant, when the mind decides to make the turn, is beauty.
The soul seeking the forgiveness feels the retribution begin to fill their life as the relationship that had been broken begins to mend. There is life, there is hope, and there is reconciliation.
Something has to be sacrificed for the person who is wronged to accept the person who has wronged them. In some cases it is something as simple as pride. In other cases it can be something very difficult. A person may have to lay down their rights, their privileges, or their hopes and dreams for the sake of reconciling a relationship.
What they give up, the price they pay, is the sacrifice or atonement.
The person who is wronged has to pay the price, so to speak, for the relationship to continue.
The person who has done the wrong doing really has no power in it. They can do everything right from the time of the incident causing the separation, but unless they are forgiven there is nothing that they can do to repair the relationship.
This situation has been quite eye opening to me as I have been searching for deeper understand in the matters of what I believe. We see glimpses of subjects that are heavy and carry big Christian words with them.
Words like justification, regeneration, sanctification, salvation and atonement.
The dictionary defines atonement as satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury. The Christian faith teaches that sin is what has separated us from God. The things that we do that are wrong cause us to be separated from God because He is holy. Holy is tricky to explain, actually I think the purest form of holy is impossible to explain because if you could explain it you would have a pretty full explanation of God. Being God is holy, when sin (the opposite of holy) happens it hurts God and causes there to be a break in the relationship. We have caused hurt to God.
That blows my mind…
…and humbles me.
Is that true?
The Christian faith believes that Christ, Son of God, God in the flesh and on this earth came here to change all of this. His arrival here was the physical evidence that God wanted to reconcile the situation of mankind being separated from Him. Sometimes, if we forgive someone, we have to think about it. God knew all about this before mankind even existed and had a plan in place (this will be the substance of another post at a later time). He made the decision before we committed the crime, He made the decision before we were alive, He made the decision to love us unconditionally before there was a person to wrong Him.
That’s what this situation with Jesus was all about.
The incarnation (another scary Christian word) or embodiment of God on this earth was the evidence that He wanted the situation repaired. He made the sacrifice of Christ, Himself, to forgive us of the crimes we committed. He didn’t have to, He had every right to be angry, be frustrated, demoralize us, and set up a set of stringent and unattainable rules…but how could we ever operate or be in a relationship like that? No one wants to be in a relationship where the other person is just waiting to add another wrong doing to the already preposterously long list.
That isn’t even a relationship.
He made the choice to blow up the separation, take the whole issue of the wrong doing we had committed upon Himself and continue, in His loving patience, to love us even though we stumble around and continually still mess up.
This is atonement? This is what that word I have heard a thousand times actually means? He gave it all up, all of His rights, so we could be back in fellowship with Him if we accepted His forgiveness?
Christ is the only atonement, because He alone was the one wronged and therefore was the only one capable of forgiving. A person cannot forgive you if there is no crime between you.
This is amazing.
For more info on this subject that I have been studying check out “A Deeper Look @ atonement”