‘He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.’ 1 John 2.2
This re-assuring verse also has a slight sting in its tale! It is with great joy that we proclaim that Jesus has taken away our sins so that we are innocent before God. It is not that we have been let off, but rather that he has paid the price and taken the punishment for us. The ‘sting in the tale’ is this: he did not just die for our sins but for the sins of the whole world. This includes the sins of the people who have hurt us and caused us pain.
It is so easy to long for God’s mercy for us, but at the same time want God’s punishment (or at least a deep conviction of sin) for those who have hurt us. Part of fully accepting the mercy of God in our lives is also to accept his mercy on those who have caused us pain. We all belong to the same Father and he has no favourites; the mercy he longs to show to one is the mercy he longs to show to all.
Let’s have the courage to pray for those who have hurt us and ask that God will show to them the same mercy and love that we long to receive ourselves.
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The Revd John Ryeland, Director of The Christian Healing Mission