“[Jesus said,] If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” –John 21:23
In amongst Thomas’s doubting Jesus’ resurrection is this fascinating line: forgive (release) sins and you let go; hold on to them, and you keep your grip, on both the sins themselves and the person who has sinned. This word for “retained” relates to the Greek word for power, κρατέω, seen, for example, in the word “democracy.” Holding onto the sins of others gives you power, but also takes power from you. Releasing these sins gives freedom to you and to the sinner over whom you have power.
Forgiving God, give us the freedom to release our grip on the judgment of others, and on ourselves. Judge us alone with grace and understanding, in the light of the resurrection. Amen.
© 2010 CW