If you blew it up, could you still fix the mess? Is there a chance for a negative thing to be turned into something positive? Could you start all over again after failing? The answer is a loud yes! God is in the business of giving us a second chance or even second chances. It doesn't matter how deep we have hurt others or how deep we have been hurt. He wants us to be healed deep down our souls. And He is willing to help us make things right. Because He knows it's hard to do this on our own. Because He knows how frail we are, especially in wrestling against sinful flesh and pride. He knows how sin breaks us apart.
But to be healed inwardly and to make us pick up the broken pieces so we can start all over again means to be brought back into a sweet relationship with God and with our fellows. How could we accomplish this?It is coined in just one word. Forgiveness. Forgive. Easy to say but hard to do. Truly hard.
God knows. That is why He has done and shown it to us first so that we could understand the way to forgiveness which is divine. When Jesus was nailed to the cross and those who mocked Him were triumphing over His impending death for an offense they did not even know He truly committed, He uttered the greatest words of forgiveness. "Father, forgive them for they do not know what they do." (Luke 23:34)
Sin blinds us. We refuse to look at our own sinfulness. We take pride in our "own" uprightness and we think we did not do any cruel thing at all. That is why we firmly defend our acts and words regardless of the pain we bring upon others and upon ourselves. And then we find ourselves trapped and locked up because of our own doing. And if we choose to stay this way, sooner or later we become numb and hard. Alas! Sin has triumphed, deceived us, and brought us to nothing!
Nothing. Because being attached to sin and disconnected to God make us nothing. That whatever we do has no value if we are in this state. And though we work and try to fulfill our spiritual duties, we do not sense real peace and joy. We find then that everything we do is without color and life.
Indeed Jesus said it right. "Apart from Me, you can do nothing." (John 15:5). We actually produce nothing no matter how hard we try because sin, particularly an unforgiving spirit, makes us unproductive. Remember how God has forgiven us. How He made us right with Him because of His death. If we know we have done something wrong and have hurt the heart of God, John the Beloved tells us that, "If we confess our sins, (God) He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9). The blood of Jesus that was poured out for our sins is enough to cleanse us, make us right with Him, and cause us to be acceptable to Him.
What about our relationship with those who have offended us? God also wants it to be restored. In fact our relationship with God is never fully restored without deciding also to forgive those who sinned against us. For the Lord Jesus said, "Whenever you stand up to pray, you must forgive what others have done to you. Then your Father in heaven will forgive your sins." (Mark 11:25-26)
Nothing can make things right but the decision to forgive our offenders. So do ourselves a favor. Forgive and be forgiven. It is God's way to wholeness and there are no short cuts. Nothing can be traded for this. Do you find it hard to start the year 2007? Are there conflicts that need to be settled? Are there people you need to be reunited with after a long period of silence? Is reconciliation possible this time? Let not this chance be wasted. God truly wants to give us a happy and joyful New Year! But let it be done, not our way but His.