Hebrews 9 v22; In fact the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.
I was thinking of a situation in my life where I had wronged a very close friend and was trying to find means and ways for reconciliation. I had done everything I could and had asked for forgiveness. Sometimes it felt like they had accepted my apology and sometimes the issues seemed to come up again and again. What had happened between the two of us had caused a lot of pain and I was in the wrong. I asked God to intervene but it seems as if He was not interested.
One day as I was reading and meditating on scriptures the issue of forgiveness came to my mind. I thought about it and moved on. But it kept on coming back to me. The above verse continued to bother me. I took a closer look at it. The question that came to mind was whose blood is to be shed for forgiveness to take place. I realized it was the blood of the offended that has to be shed for forgiveness to be effective. I was taken to Genesis 3 and I realized that it was God who had to shed his own blood to forgive us.
The sinner or the offender cannot change anything after sinning but to expect judgment, so the natural tendency is to run away from the offended. Adam ran away from God when he heard the voice of God. So this is the reaction of the offender. Run and hide away from the offended. Avoid him, don’t talk to him.
The other observation was that whatever I tried to do subsequently was adding to the grief of my friend, no matter it was done with good intentions. It was all considered either as an action of defiance, lack of sympathy or cover up. Everything was for to try and make myself look better and to condemn the offended to force them to forgive me (forget about it and move on attitude), this reminded me of Isaiah 64 verse 6 ; All of us have become like one who is unclean ,and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…
To tell you the truth I had seen the evil I had committed and the pain I had caused and genuinely repented.
So the gist of the matter is that as Christ forgave us we have to learn to forgive those who sin against us. Colossians 3 v13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the lord forgave you.
And also in Luke 11 v 4 it says “Forgive us our sins for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. So from the scriptures the burden of forgiving lies with the offended more rather than the offender.
The sinner has to realize their part in all of this and ask for forgiveness and change their ways and to know that if you are dealing with people they have limitations to see through you about your repentance. God would know instantly if you have repented genuinely.
The issue is that the offended has to shed their blood for forgiveness to be implemented. Jesus left the glory of heaven to become an ordinary human being for us to be forgiven and reconciled with God. The bible puts it this way “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross.
Look at what Jesus did, He emptied himself of his glory. Do you think it was easy for him to leave his glory and to take the form of a slave and to suffer for the sin of the world? What had he done wrong, (nothing) . Jesus left his highest position of honor, power , glory integrity and majesty to become an ordinary human being. He suffered so that we may be forgiven of our sins.
The offended has to put aside their pride, reputation, integrity and honor so they can forgive those who wrong them. To give your life away so there can be forgiveness. This is not an easy thing to do. We have to learn from Christ who even though He was the wronged He gave up His life so we can live again. There is no love that can exceed this that a man gives his life for his friends and for his enemies. Christ did it and we are required to be like Christ. What a tough ask but by His grace we will forgive one another.
By Upenyu Hove