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January 15, 2016

The good news for the day
When Jesus saw the faith of the people, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Some educated people were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way? He’s saying he’s god-like. Who else besides just God can forgive sins?” Jesus instantly realized in his own mind what they were thinking to themselves; so He said, “What makes you think such things in your hearts? What’s easier—to say to somebody paralyzed, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, pick up your stretcher and walk’?” (Mark 2)

What IS easier—forgiving real sins, or curing somebody with cancer?

You and I have known sins unforgiven for decades. Father and adult son fight bitterly—for a lifetime. Your aunt makes a harsh judgment about her son-in-law—the link stays broken forever. Your friend can’t fathom his daughter’s career choice—years of silence and distance follow. You disagree with a neighbor about religious or political—you stop talking.

Judged by the result, these “sins” deviate profoundly from what is right; they signal abysmal failure to love, long-lasting animosity, and a decades-long absence of reconciliation. You know instances. These may not seem “book” sins, single acts of theft, adultery or lying. They are the kind of sins people rarely acknowledge. Jesus may well have seen this in the man.

But these sins come close to being impossible to forgive—harder than curing a disease, harder than fixing a body.

The Good News is that such sins CAN be forgiven, hard as it may seem. You can forgive, you can be forgiven. In the end—it is easier to work for—and achieve—mutual forgiveness than to cure cancer or Alzheimer’s.

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