James Esdras Faust, an American religious leader, lawyer, and politician once remarked: “Sometimes we carry unhappy feelings about past hurts too long. We spend too much energy dwelling on things that have passed and cannot be changed. We struggle to close the door and let go of the hurt. If, after time, we can forgive whatever may have caused the hurt, we will tap 'into a life-giving source of comfort' through the Atonement, and the 'sweet peace' of forgiveness will be ours. Some injuries are so hurtful and deep that healing comes only with help from a higher power and hope for perfect justice and restitution in the next life. . . . You can tap into that higher power and receive precious comfort and sweet peace.” Isaiah 53:1-5 states: “Who has believed what he has heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed.”
Atonement is defined as: "The action of making amends for a wrong or injury." It also signifies the reparation or expiation for sin. It includes identifying our individual faults and doing something about them. Wikipedia relates atonement to and closely associates it with forgiveness, reconciliation, sorrow, remorse, repentance, reparation, and guilt. It can ultimately be seen as our unobstructed footpath to redemption. God's redemptive plan includes the covenants made with Abraham, Adam, Moses, Noah, and ultimately the sacrifice of His own Son on the cross for the absolution of our sins. 1 Peter 2:24 confirms: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
There were once two sisters who lived in the same area but led separate lives. The elder was happily married to a computer systems analyst and lived in a small semi-detached bungalow on the outskirts of a small village. The younger lived in a rented one-bedroom flat in the town situated a few miles away. Although the two sisters loved one another at heart, they seldom saw each other. The younger sister had always resented her elder since early childhood, largely due to the fact that her parent’s actions were seen as favoritism to their firstborn. This was not so. The younger sister had often been considered avaricious in her ways from an early age and although the love shown by the parents was equal to both, she felt her elder sister had always been treated better.
Her sister had always received brand new clothing of her own choosing when these were required, whereas she had to be content with "hand-me-downs." Instead of the ability to freely choose her own style that she would have been proud to wear, she was usually given the clothes that her elder sister had outgrown. This wasn't intended to cause her to feel inferior or jealous, but was merely considered practical and cost-effective. The father had lost his wife some ten years earlier through sudden illness.
Although he did not possess much in the way of savings, he did live in a large detached house that he adored which was worth a considerable amount of money. He had lived there for the majority of his life. The more aged he became, the more help he needed, and at one point it was considered that he could no longer live independently and should ideally be moved into a care home where he would receive the requisite help. One day, the younger sister approached her father with the suggestion that if he was prepared to leave his entire estate to her except for a few memorable trinkets for her elder sister, she would be willing to devote her life to him and move back home to look after him for his remaining days, thus preventing him from being placed into a residential home. As this proposal appealed to him much more than leaving his beloved abode, he readily agreed. He immediately prepared his new will in favor of the younger daughter, without informing the elder, at the specific, but underhanded, request of his new carer.
Seven years later, he too passed away and the entire estate was inherited by the younger daughter, much to the shock and distress of the elder. She felt hurt that she had been deceptively robbed of her equal inheritance by her scheming sister who only had thoughts for herself. This inevitably reduced their relationship to virtual non-existence. Sometime later, the younger daughter decided to sell her father's house to acquire funds to purchase an apartment in a new location where she wished to reside. Simultaneously, the elder sister's husband lost his job and they became extremely short of money. They were struggling to make ends meet. When it was established that the house was being sold, the elder approached her younger sister to ask if, on completion of the sale, she would be compassionate enough to donate some of the excess money that she would acquire so that they could live a reasonable life until such time that their prevailing problems had been overcome.
At first, the younger sister declined, stating that she had earned her inheritance for the years of care she had provided to her father, so why should she relinquish some to someone so undeserving? This made her sister weep vehemently from the inner hurt caused by the selfish attitude of her sibling. Romans 5:6-11 states: "For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person - though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
However, the constant pleas for help did eventually strike a chord in the younger sister’s heart and she reflected on her selfish attitude. She began to feel empathy toward her sister and decided to atone her immorality. She gave her sister several thousand pounds to aid them through their plight. Her sister was so grateful. The family had once again reunited into a loving and close unity. Leviticus 17:11 confirms: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.”