“The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!’”
John 1:29 (ESVUK)
According to a national newspaper (1) and a book she co-authored (2), Jill Price is able to recite details of every day of her life since she was fourteen years old. Apparently she can recall various obscure moments of her life in great detail. Her condition has been termed hyperthymesia and is characterized by a highly superior autobiographical memory.
She is quoted as saying, “Most have called it a gift. But I call it a burden. I run my entire life through my head every day and it drives me crazy! — Some memories are good and give me a warm, safe feeling — but I also recall every bad decision, insult and excruciating embarrassment. Over the years it has eaten me up. It has kind of paralysed me.” Jill blames her vivid memories for many years of depression.
Some view God’s relationship with the vast majority of humanity as being that of sinners in the hands of an angry God. They portray God as a condemning judge who is angry with the world in general. God is righteous, all-knowing, and has perfect recall. He can neither ignore sin and its serious consequences, nor pretend that it never existed. However, the good news of the gospel is, as the above scripture proclaims, that God has dealt with and taken care of past, present and future sin through the life, death, resurrection and ascension of his Son, Jesus Christ. When God forgives us, he does not simply wipe away sin and pretend it never existed. Sins have serious consequences and Jesus volunteered to suffer the consequences on our behalf; humanity’s tendency to sin cost Jesus pain and shame and death.
The good news is that God is for us not against us and Jesus has assured us that God’s relationship with his creation is such that, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Humanity in general, and some Christians, do not seem to be able to accept or internalise the above scriptures and are continually plagued by the depressive burden of sin, guilt and shame. God wants all humanity to accept the forgiveness that he has made available through Jesus Christ and that, in his mercy, he freely offers to all humanity. We need to respond to and accept God’s forgiveness by engaging in it. In being forgiven and forgiving others we can be released from being eaten up by the sins bad decisions, insults and excruciating embarrassments that inevitably come with the complex lives we all lead.
Father, we thank you that Jesus died so that all humanity can experience forgiveness and salvation. That we can be at peace with you and, as far as is possible, at peace with each other.
Study by Eddie Marsh
Grace Communion, Sheffield
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