“Fall is about to show us how beautiful it is to let things go.” – Anonymous
Parenting taught me an essential art: quick removal of potentially harmful choking hazards. Prying dangerous objects from grasping little fingers can be challenging. Toddler tantrums often result.
With my little son it was a bit easier. When he found something too small for safe play, instead of beginning a wrestling match I asked him to throw it to me. What little boy doesn’t like to throw things?
That resolved the immediate danger. But teaching kids how to “let go” of something is a lesson that will follow them into adulthood.
How often I still need to be reminded to “let go” of something harmful.
One late September day I stood near the shore enjoying a New York sunset. I witnessed a unique sight. Hundreds of Orthodox Jewish people were performing a customary atonement ritual called tashlikh (“cast off” in Hebrew).
Children and adults alike were hurling pieces of bread into the rising Atlantic Ocean tide.
This annual ritual is done between Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). It is based on a Bible passage : “He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea.”[i]
They were symbolically throwing their sins into the water, never to be seen again. A picture of God’s complete forgiveness.
But according to Scripture, forgiveness is grounded in an atoning sacrifice. Yeshua, the perfect spotless lamb of God, paid the penalty for our sins. He “tread our iniquities” under His foot when it was nailed to Calvary’s tree. He made possible the Father’s complete forgiveness of our transgressions. Our Messiah’s once-for-all atonement was perfect (see Hebrews 10).
With that faith and knowledge, why do I still hold on to things I should let go?
The sins of others.
Hurtful things once spoken to me.
Sitting in my car some years ago, I cried out to God in prayer. A recent fallout with a friend had bankrupted me. Anger, hurt, and rejection flooded my mind. How can I move past this hurt? I am stuck.
With hands clasped, I prayed to God for justice.
Quietly, an image of Messiah Jesus on the cross came to mind.
The powerful thought gripped me: I have been given perfect justice.
I already enjoyed the reality that all MY sins were forgiven. But would I accept that His sacrifice was also for the sins of others?
By holding onto unforgiveness and resentment, I was in turn rejecting Yeshua’s sacrifice for their sin.
My heart ached within me at the thought.
With hands wide open I released the offense and accepted perfect justice. Thank you, Yeshua.
What are you tightly holding onto that needs to be released to the nail-scarred hands of the Messiah?