Leviticus 16 talks about the Day of Atonement, in which Aaron, the priest, is to perform a series of tasks and sacrifice to make things right between the Israelites and God.
After going through a myriad of ritual that to us seems far off and hard to understand, he lays his hands on a goat (called a scapegoat) and, “…confess(es) over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites – their sins – and put them on the goat’s head.”
The goat is then sent off into the wilderness and we are told, “The goat will carry their sins to a remote place…”
It was symbolic of the distance that God wants between us and our brokenness. That we would be far separated from the things that keep us from Him. That our frailty, our anger, rebellion, lust, greed, ambition, deceit and unbelief… all of the things that do not give life… would walk off into the wilderness and die.
Later in the Bible in the book of Hebrews chapter 10, we’re reminded by the writer that priests like Aaron will spend the every day of their lives standing up doing their rituals over and over to try and take away the sins of the people.
But then the writer says that Jesus, “… after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God.”
Done. Gone. Distance uncrossable.
It can no more come wandering back to bring death to our hearts and minds, spirits, habits and lives.
The most broken and freed and thankful of God’s people understand that it was never about “being a good boy” or “being a good girl” but about choosing life over the things that bring death.
And that the things that brought them death were so decaying… so weighing… so breaking… that the miraculous intervention of life-changing forgiveness was the most freeing thing mankind is capable of receiving.
So it’s important that you understand today that you are forgiven.
It’s important for you to know that as far as the east is from the west, your frailty, your brokenness… your sin… has all walked off into the wilderness and died.
And that He, Jesus, has made you new. Very new. Newer than you even understand and more capable and more free than you could possibly imagine.
So let it go. Today. Right now.
Breathe in, breathe out… say, “thank You Jesus” and bear witness to the stuff that you hate about your history or your today… the ways you shatter yourself or the ways you simply feel shattered… watch them all walk off into the horizon without you.
Because they are not you.
Gone. Done. Distance uncrossable.