Without Forgiveness, Love Dies

Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.    (Heb. 9:22)

I’d been a jerk towards my wife.  Even though I wanted to rationalize my actions and justify my words, I knew I had to humble myself and finally say, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”  As I thought about apologizing, I felt like I was about to lose some dignity and more than a little blood.

Of course.  As the writer to the Hebrews says, “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”  The necessity of shedding blood is essential in our relationship with God and in all of our other relationships.

Jesus had to shed His blood so that our sins could be forgiven.  And we need to shed our own blood—metaphorically speaking—to ask for forgiveness and to give forgiveness.  It may seem more obvious how saying, “I am sorry,” can feel like shedding blood; but it’s often no less painful to say, “I forgive you.”

We sometimes resist saying sorry because doing so can make us feel so vulnerable.  And we can sometimes resist offering forgiveness because we’re afraid of being taken advantage of.  It costs to say sorry.  It costs to say I forgive you.  It costs much more when we don’t.   If we insist we’re always right, or if we resist offering real forgiveness, we will destroy our relationships.

Was Jesus weak in forgiving us?  Did Jesus lose dignity when He shed His blood on the cross? There’s no greater strength in all of history, no greater dignity ever displayed, than when Jesus gave His life for us.

Although Jesus shed His blood once and for all, we must accept His shed blood perpetually.  Just as we must perpetually shed our own blood—again, metaphorically speaking—in our daily need to ask for forgiveness and to forgive.

I encourage us to accept that without the shedding of blood there’s no forgiveness of sins.  This is true with Jesus.  This is also true with each other.  We need His shed blood.  And we need to shed our own blood to ask for and to give forgiveness.

Reflection Questions:

  1. Is there someone you need to shed your blood—shed your pride—for and with by saying, “I’m sorry, please forgive me?” If so, what you are waiting for?
  2. Is there someone you need to shed your blood—shed your hurt and the hardness in your heart—for and with by saying, “I forgive you?” If so, isn’t it time to do so?
  3. All of our relationships must be bathed in the blood of forgiveness. From Jesus to us, from us to others.  Without forgiveness, love dies.  As you consider forgiveness, are you remembering to also forgive yourself?

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