There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28)I truly believe that we are all children of God. It does not matter our social rank, our age, whether we're male or female, what our sexual orientation is, whether we're black or white or pink with purple polka-dots. We all are equal in the eyes of God, and should also be equal in the eyes of man. We are all "one in Christ Jesus." Each of us, regardless of these things, are all allowed the gifts given by God - grace, mercy, peace, love, forgiveness.
All of us, that is, except me....
"I think the reason you continue to get me to stop forgiving [you] is because you cannot forgive yourself... You have bound yourself so tightly that you’re strangling yourself. Jesus has already loosed those bonds. Your only job is to live in to that reality... are you so important that you refuse to forgive someone (in this case yourself) despite the fact that God – the creator of the cosmos – has already done so"The above are parts of messages sent to me by a very dear friend not long ago while I was in the middle of a melt down/temper tantrum. I really did not address his comments at the time. I didn't want to address them. He, quite frankly, pissed me off. And it wasn't because he was attacking me (he was not), but rather because he was right.
"There is no longer slave or free."
I saw a meme the other day that said:
"Jesus removes the enslaving power of shame, guilt and regret - and replaces it with unending love."
There is no longer slave or free. We're all simply one by His love and in His love. I rarely have a problem believing and living this when it comes to other people. I have forgiven (more than once) those who hurt me in the past. They're only human, and still God's children. So why do I (and perhaps many of you) still remain enslaved to feelings of shame, guilt and regret? Why do we not turn that same understanding of being "only human, and still God's children" towards ourselves?
It's actually a fairly easy answer - at least in my case. I don't deserve the love and forgiveness of God. I don't deserve to have these chains loosed. Things I have done... things I continue to do... things I have allowed to be done...
And, the truth is, I don't deserve anything from God. Neither do you. Neither does the rich man, nor the poor man. Neither does man nor woman. Black nor white. Gay nor straight. And yet out of His unending love for all of us, we are all still given love, mercy, forgiveness, and many other blessings. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as slaves or free and instead start thinking of ourselves as united in Christ Jesus.
As my friend stated: "Jesus has already loosed those bonds. Your only job is to live in to that reality." We need to live in that reality with ourselves, and with others.