In the Old Testament, the Year of Jubilee was a special kind of Sabbath celebration: Sabbath came once a week at the end of seven days. Jubilee came once every fifty years at the end of seven sets of seven years.
The special Jubilee year was full of celebrations, canceling old debts, and restoring relationships.
Today, on this last Sabbath (Saturday) of the year, you are invited into both rest and jubilee. Today is a great day to cancel any outstanding relational debts you have accrued this year; to let them go and give them to Jesus; and to rest in the promise that sins are both forgiven and forgivable in his Spirit’s power.
Holding grudges and carrying guilt are both hard work. Today you get to rest from those labors.
Any guilt you are carrying from this week, this month, or this year you can lay at the foot of the cross. Imagine dropping a heavy weight labeled “My Guilt and Shame, 2019” at Jesus’ feet. What a relief! You are forgiven, set free, released: you don’t have to carry that load anymore!
Then notice the other burden you have been carrying, the one labeled “My Pain and Anger, 2019.” That weight comes from other people and their sin (even if you started it …).
Sometimes that burden is harder to see because it hides so easily behind our own self-justifying feelings. But it’s there. Even if you already forgave someone, you may still be carrying some pretty heavy baggage.
Today is the day to drop that baggage. Healing might not be as simple as giving your hurt to Jesus in prayer, but that’s a good place to start. Carrying a grudge into the new year is a lot of work!
Colossians 3:12-14 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Come, Holy Spirit, and release the death grip I have on my own guilt and shame; then teach me to let go of the grievance I hold over other people in my life, especially …
I claim the forgiveness of Jesus for my own sin. And I release the sins of others to that same mercy and grace. Amen.