If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?” John 20:23 (TPT)
Radical Forgiveness – Resurrection Series – Part 2
In Genesis 2, God breathed into Adam, and Adam rose up from the dust full of life.
In Ezekiel, God breathed into a valley of dry and dusty bones, and they rose up full of life.
In his book, Luke tells us that “suddenly in the temple, the thick veil hanging in the Holy place was ripped in two! Then Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Father, I surrender my Spirit into your hands.” And he took his last breath and died.” (Luke 23:45-46.)
In Ancient Hebrew, the word for Spirit and Breath are the same: ruach. It means “air in motion.” They believed that the spirit of God and the breath you’re taking are one and the same: life force, energy, essence, spirit, breath.
John tells us that when Jesus appeared to his disciples and friends after rising from the dead, he breathed into them and said:.
“Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive someone’s sins, they’re gone for good. If you don’t forgive sins, what are you going to do with them?” (John 20:22-23.)
Breath and spirit, life force and energy – it’s what's behind resurrection. New life happens when ruach happens: air in motion igniting something that was dead and bringing it to life. From Adam to Ezekiel to Jesus to the Disciples to you and me: breath was/is life.
There is so much I could write about this right now, but we’ll save it for another series…
When Jesus breathed into his disciples – and yep, that’s what the text says he did – he could have spoken about anything: judgement, kindness, hope, mercy, faith, doctrine, truth… He could have said things like: We sure did show those religious folks! Take that Roman Empire! We one-upped everyone.
He talked about forgiveness.
Receive the Holy and Spirit – receive breath, receive life, receive forgiveness.
Resurrection is not so much death conquered as it is death forgiven.
I wonder if the deaths in our lives – relationships, dreams, ideas, businesses, sanity, innocence; I wonder if at the root of these deaths lies un-forgiveness in any and every form?
Resurrection is radical forgiveness. It’s Jesus showing us what kind of miracles can take place when the air in motion is laced with forgiveness.
This is both completely exciting and utterly terrifying. Exciting and hopeful, cos hey, I want forgiveness, I want mercy, and I want compassion. It's also terrifying and hard and even a little offensive because it means I need to learn to forgive and be merciful and have compassion.
And sure. I can do that for my barista who made my coffee too hot, and the friend who forgot it was my birthday, and my husband who didn’t do what I asked him to three weeks ago…
But those who have hurt me? Deep wounds? To the point of death? To those hurting others in our world? The unseen and untold tragedies and abuses? The wars and damage and violence? The manipulation and greed?
How do you forgive that?
It’s in the breath. It takes time. It takes breathing it in and out and in and out again. It takes practice.
It takes resurrection.
Jesus showed us that not only is it possible, but it just might change everything, too.
Written by Lizzy Milani