"Your Sins Are Forgiven"

One woman said that her prayer time often became burdened with the long list of sins she confessed...

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Prayer blogger Rick Hamlin

Of all the words that Jesus said, these four are surely some of the most liberating, comforting and helpful, the answer to prayers we scarcely seem capable of asking.

It’s a phrase he didn’t say just once in the Bible but several times, usually when he was healing, and it still has that healing capacity now.

I thought of the phrase the other night when I was giving a talk on prayer at a church here in New York. Two dozen of us were gathered in an upper room on 15th Street, traffic noise outside, our chairs set up in a circle. As with any talk on prayer I give, I’m equally glad to hear others tell about their prayer life and their own struggles with prayer.

One woman with an earnest expression and long grayish hair told us that her prayer time often became burdened with the long list of sins she confessed. They seemed to be without end. “How do you have time to pray about other things?” she asked.

“I’ve heard of people who will write down their sins on pieces of paper and then rip them up,” I said, “to remind them of how their sins are forgiven. They’re forgotten. They don’t need to bring them up anymore.” I wondered if that idea would help her. We continued talking about forgiveness, how hard it can be, how essential it has, how it is a bulwark of the Lord’s Prayer, that we forgive as God forgives us.

Then I remembered that phrase that Jesus says again and again in the Bible. I wished I could print it on a sturdy card in big letters that she could put in her purse and refer to whenever she needed it, as we all often need it: “YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN.” Jesus said so. That should be good enough for all of us. Forgotten, done with, over.

Amen.

Tags: Prayer
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