Redemption

I’ve been thinking about redemption since I wrote yesterday’s post.  It’s not a word I use.  But it’s the only word I can think of to describe those moments of relief when one’s most shameful secret is told to a compassionate witness and somehow loses its sting. There are a couple of scenes in two of Goudge’s books where the person told says “I’d have done the same.” In others just the telling to a sympathetic listener brings relief.  It’s like the terrible thing you did becomes just an ordinary human stumble.  What happens then isn’t really forgiveness, it’s BEYOND forgiveness.  That thing which separated you from the human race becomes the thing that rejoins you.  I had done something, years ago, I hadn’t intended to hurt my friend Lynelle but it had hurt her.  Recently I asked her if she had forgiven me, and she said “You’ve been carrying that for all these years?” And again I felt huge relief.  I once had a dream in which I’d had an experience of God’s forgiveness and was trying to explain to other people how god had forgiven us BEFORE we had even done the thing.
In the Dictionary the first meaning of “redeem” is “to recover ownership of by paying a specified sum.” The sixth is “to set free, to rescue or ransom.” I think that’s the closest to what I’m trying to describe — to be set free from a burden of shame.

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