"That's not enough!" said the woman to the bus driver. He was late. Circumstances beyond his control had caused the delay, and he said "I'm sorry" at least six times. But it was not enough. No matter what he said or how he said it, she could not forgive him for keeping her waiting.
Has that ever happened to you? That no matter how sorry you were, it was not enough? Or perhaps the shoe was on the other foot, and you simply could not forgive. Bitterness creeps in, doesn't it? Bitterness makes you sick. It holds you back from enjoying life.
On the other hand, forgiveness releases you, or the one who hurt you, from a debt. Actually, it sets free both the one hurt and the one who caused the hurt. It's easy to remember hurts, and hard to forget them. Why is it so hard to forgive and forget?
Only those who have known forgiveness can forgive. To forgive is to look hopefully into the future and not bitterly into the past.
Forgiveness is not free. It costs you something to forgive. You have to give up your demand for justice. You have to put to death the offense that is lodged in your heart. That opens up the future, both for the one who is forgiven and the one who forgives.
Can you imagine being released from all guilt and bitterness? No longer being weighed down with regret? Greeting each new day with hope? That's what eternal life is like -- living continually in a guiltless state, set free to love.
How can you love someone whom you can't forgive, or who can't forgive you? But how can you forgive, and how can you be forgiven?
We are all guilty of hurting others, of doing things against our conscience, or failing to do what we ought to do. This is called sin, which incurs guilt. Guilt is not just a bad feeling; it is a debt that must be paid. If you die with guilt, then you must pay that debt in death.
Death is not peaceful oblivion. It is a place of torment1 where your soul must face the guilt of all the hurt you have caused in your life and fully accept the responsibility for it, reaching repentance. You must come to the end of all of your excuses. Some people will never cease justifying themselves, therefore their torment will never end.
But it is possible to be released from your debt of guilt in this life. This is because there was a man who lived his entire life without ever sinning against another human being, or against himself or his Creator. His name is Yahshua.2 His every word and deed expressed love for all whose lives he touched. But the purity of his life and the penetrating truthfulness of his words enraged the self-righteous religious leaders of his day, and they demanded his death. He was brutally executed, nailed to a cross and hung up naked to die in shame before his accusers.
He willingly gave his sinless life as a sacrifice. Having no guilt of his own, he took upon himself the guilt of all of our sins, and received their fair wages in Death. For three days and nights he received the unimaginable torment that all of our sins deserved, and when Death had exhausted its fury on him, his soul was released from Death's grip and returned to his body, filling it with indestructible life. His resurrection was the proof that the sacrifice of his life was accepted on our behalf.
To pay for our sins cost him everything, and to receive the forgiveness he purchased with his life costs us everything. It is life for life. We must forsake our rotten, stinking life to receive his pure, indestructible life. We must leave the kingdoms of this world, which are driven by self interest, and enter the kingdom of God, which is driven by self sacrifice. This transfer of kingdoms, which is salvation itself, happens in baptism where we renounce and forsake our old life and possessions, calling upon Yahshua to save us, and then we entrust our lives into the hands of his body on earth -- those who have gone before us in giving their lives to him.
Yahshua's body on earth is the ultimate weCulture. It is described in the Book of Acts in the New Testament. Acts 2:44 puts it in a nutshell: "All who believed were together and shared all things in common," and Acts 4:32 amplifies it: "Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common."
We are living this very life described in the Scriptures. We are disciples of Yahshua. We are thankful, hopeful, forgiven, and free, and there's nothing else we'd rather do, nowhere else we'd rather be. We would love for you to enjoy with us the freedom that comes from being forgiven. You can be set free from iCulture to live a life of love and unity with others who have been forgiven and have the power to forgive. We live in communities all over the world which you are welcome to visit.