The Celebration of Pentecost: The Giving of the Holy Spirit??
19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ???Peace be with you.??? 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, ???Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.??? 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ???Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.?????
Isn't it interesting what John records here concerning the Holy Spirit being given to the disciples? The very nature of receiving the Spirit is to forgive sins and to not harbor our judgements against others. What does this mean for relationships? Doesn't this strip away our reservations against others? Are we not disarmed by the brute honesty in Christ's command?
I do not believe that we will ever escape the call to love one another and be faithful Christians at the same time. It is our destiny to reconcile, our purpose to forgive, our mission to mend. Christ has taken away our excuse to refuse to become one with one another. And at the same time he has placed judgement in our hands, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. Have you ever had someone hold your sins over your head? Has anyone ever never let you forget something you did, said, or didn't do or say? There is great power in judgement, but true power ??? as Christ is revealing ??? is forgiveness. We must "go there" in our hearts; to that place where we have buried our anger, our hate, our bitterness and we must let Christ tear down the gates of our own personal 'hell' and proclaim release to the captives of our souls.
Forgive, as Christ forgives. May God remove the dams that harbor the waters of hate in our lives and may we be washed by the release of forgiveness. Have a great week!