Today's Hump Day Hmm invites us to discuss atonement. I have a lot of feelings on this subject, especially because the word itself holds special meaning to my faith. Easter Sunday I gave a talk based largely on this article, which gives a wonderful explanation of the atonement of Jesus Christ. I avoid writing about my faith on this blog for my own reasons, but I could not write about the subject of atonement without acknowledging how much it affects my life.
When I consider the power of the atonement of Christ, the most selfless act in all of human history, I am ashamed of how unlikely it is that something even remotely similar might happen in the life of the average person today. Most people are outraged at the idea of having to pay for someone else's mistakes. Courts are filled with case after case of disputes between two or more parties who disagree on who should pay for some damage, some dispute, or some grievance. Yet here is a man without sin, who made no mistakes in his life, committed no wrong, who chooses to accept a horrifying, terrible punishment at the hands of an illegal tribunal in the dark of night and then a torturous death the next day. Documentaries get made about men serving on death row who were incorrectly found guilty and sentenced to death. Jesus was found guilty of crimes he did not commit and he freely carried his own instrument of death to his execution.
I draw a broader comparison on the atonement when I consider broken relationships. So often marriages, friendships, or even families are torn apart because one party committed some "unforgivable sin." "She cheated on me with my best friend." "He stole my idea and made millions off of it." "They didn't invite me to their party." "He told Dad what I said about him." or one of my favorites, "He wouldn't buy me my own Coke at the movie theater." How easily we find error in others and forever lose trust in them, or perhaps even in all people. But again, Christ showed a better way. He sought out the less fortunate, the down trodden of society, the sinful, and he lifted them up. Even those who openly abused his friendship and love received nothing but respect from him. He taught people how to bring themselves out of problems, instead of looking for ways to find fault. I know in my life, I have pushed away friends who I felt asked too much of me, and certainly those who did me wrong more than once. Granted, I am (I think) a very forgiving person who lets my friends get away with a lot of mistreatment, but I still have a habit of removing people from my life who do me wrong. While I don't think Christ expects me to suffer repeated mistreatments at the hands of abusers, I also know that he did just that without complaint.
I know I am a long way from being as good a person as Christ. I know I make plenty of mistakes in life, especially with regard to those closest to me. I am just glad that I have such a positive role model to look up to, and to enjoy a relationship with. I am most glad that Christ did atone for my sins, and I do my best to follow his teachings as I reach out to the world around me, sharing love, kindness, and teaching. If only we could all follow his ways.