Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained. John 20:23 NABRE
John writes of Jesus appearing to the disciples in the evening of His resurrection. Though locked in and fearful, Jesus comes and stands in their midst wishing them peace. Seeing His wounds they rejoice knowing it is their Lord. He breathes on them, as God did to Adam giving him life; Jesus is breathing into them the Holy Spirit. Then He speaks what I consider a peculiar line, about forgiving and retaining sin. It is an important message, and I wonder why Jesus hasn’t spoken this message prior. Today, certain churches see this as Jesus instituting a sacrament called Reconciliation. The disciples as Jesus chosen are given authority by Jesus, which includes authority over sin. There isn’t an instance where the disciples retain a sin, for that matter, I don’t recall any sins forgiven either. Certain churches pass this authority on, the Bishop becoming the role inheriting the authority of an apostle. Jesus teaching is all for all. Jesus teaching applies to all followers, we have the authority to forgive and retain sin. In fact we do it already, if someone sins against us we tend to hold it against them.
My teacher shared the concept of “anamchara,” a Gaelic word translating roughly to soul friend. It provides a relationship in a community to connect experienced and new community members. They will challenge and be direct with one another but never judgmental. These companions can hear and forgive sin. Knowing someone well allows challenging them into repenting, transforming, and know God, Jesus’ desire for all. If we are fully known, even our sinning, being held accountable, we have a chance to truly repent. Find your anamchara, forgiver, spiritual companion.
Do you have a companion who can forgive your sin? Do you hold sins committed against you?Knowing someone well allows challenging them into repenting, transforming, and know God, Jesus' desire for all. If we are fully known, even our sinning, being held accountable, we have a chance to truly repent. Click To Tweet
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