Every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins.
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, “he sat down at the right hand of God,” and since then has been waiting “until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet.” For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
Where there is forgiveness of sin and lawless deeds, there is no longer any offering for sin.
The word that stands out to me in this passage is “forgiveness”.
Reference is made to the priest “offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins”. Christ’s supreme sacrifice, (“a single offering”) and His great love for man was the only sacrifice that was acceptable to God, as He forgave mankind and opened the gates of heaven for us.
In our earthly relationships, until we are forgiven, the hurt or the mistrust between us may still be present. If someone makes a sacrifice for us, to make up for a past misdeed, it may soften our hearts toward the person at fault and may in time lead to our forgiving that person. Until that forgiveness happens, the sin and the hurt is still there, affecting our friendship or our love for that person.
It is helpful to really pray and ask for guidance — that we may learn to truly forgive. We may need to pray for strength, to go beyond our feelings and to think, WWJD — what would Jesus do — in situations like these.
Many times I have not practiced this. There were times when I basked in the feeling of hurt, resentment, and a secret wish for revenge. I would run many scenarios through my mind of how I would teach that person a lesson, in retaliation for what was done to me. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit came to my aid and calmed me down which allowed me to think logically and perhaps more importantly, with compassion. I’ve learned to sit and think about where the person was coming from. I’ve learned to suspend judgement and give the other the benefit of the doubt. It is not easy. It can however be done with a lot of prayers and an abundant outpouring of grace and humility and together with that, the willingness to forgive. And it’s important to understand that forgiving is not condoning poor behaviour. It is rather releasing the offender of their hold on us, and lifting the barrier between us and God.
It is LOVE, then, that makes this forgiveness possible. God LOVED Jesus and deemed Jesus’ sacrifice as acceptable to Him. Jesus LOVED God and us so much that He underwent this great sacrifice.
It is our LOVE of God that moves us to offer our forgiveness to those who hurt us. It is, at times, our LOVE for our friend that makes us want to forgive them and restore our friendship.
It is God’s LOVE for me that leads Him to grant me an outpouring of grace so that I can offer LOVE to others in return.