Ep90-The Atonement Heals the Broken Heart-Fire on the Horizon-Ch 16

Show Notes:

The Atonement Heals the Broken Heart

Reciprocity, the giving and receiving that constitutes the I-Thou relationship, is also the heart of atonement. Atonement is God’s very mode of being in relationship with us. He is always giving Himself to us unconditionally. He waits upon us to open the doors to our hearts to let Him in. The doors to the heart open only from the inside.

The moment of justification occurs when we recognize that we judged ourselves to be unworthy of God’s presence. Repentance is the beginning of accountability for our judgments—or more accurately, the beginning of giving up and letting go of all judgment of others. In taking accountability, we let go of the blame and judgment that cast us out into the world of cause and effect—the world of I-It relationships. We see that we are not the mere effect of what others did to us. We are accountable for our feelings. We are accountable for the acts that separated us and created barriers between us. We chose to have the feelings of guilt and unworthiness. No one else can cause these feelings but us. Thus, we can cease blaming others and stop judging ourselves as unworthy of God’s presence.

Refusing to forgive is like taking poison and waiting for the offending person to die. Forgiving is like letting go of a heavy lead weight that we have been carrying around for no reason, only refusing to put it down. Indeed, the experience of forgiveness feels light, because we are literally letting go of the past that has held down and kept us from moving forward. Forgiveness feels light because light enters into us and we are enlightened.

Because I am not guilty, I can let go of the past and live in the here and now as little children do. To be childlike is to live life in the joy of innocence, in the purity of life lived here and now. Children simply trust. They do not analyze their experience, they simply live it. Children do not worry about what others think of them if they say the wrong thing—they simply speak the truth as they see it. They do not withhold their love until it’s safe—they simply give their love freely. They are not laden with guilt. Little children do not engage in pretense or worry about their self-image. Because their hearts are open, little children are already partakers of the atonement—“for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 19:14). Through the Atonement, I am again childlike the moment I open my heart and turn to Christ as Lord.

The issue is simply how we get outside of ourselves to be with an Other. The answer is that it can result only from a spiritual act that transcends our physical limitations. I can encounter a Thou only by transcending my bodily limitations of sense experience


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