Have you ever known anyone who continued to carry a burden they didn’t need to? They make a mistake, they ask forgiveness, and are forgiven. Yet, even after forgiveness is given, they continue to live under a shadow of their own making, regardless of everyone else moving on. In the 1986 movie, “The Mission”, Robert De Niro plays Rodrigo Mendoza, a slave trader who has killed his brother in a fit of rage when his brother is found in bed with Mendoza’s own wife. Mendoza joins the Jesuits to be part of the mission to the natives of South America out of penance. He take with him nothing but his armor… all of his armor. As he attempts to navigate rivers and mountains, his armor continues to weigh him down, despite being told he was forgiven for his sin by the priest and the other missionaries. Even when one of them cuts the cord on the net, he ties it back on and continues to carry the burden. His persona changes once the priest cuts the cords again and the armor is carried away over the falls.
In Luke 19: 1-10, we meet a familiar man. Zacchaeus is known by two traits. He is a tax collector… and he is short. Very short. Short enough that when a crowd gathers around Jesus as He walks, Zacchaeus has to climb up in a tree ahead of them to be able to see Him. Zacchaeus is either overlooked or ignored because of their hatred for him but Jesus is who sees him without condition. Zacchaeus has acted forcefully in order to be seen because this Jesus has something he needs… even if he doesn’t know just what he might receive from Him. Jesus offers friendship and when that friendship impacts Zacchaeus, he vows to DO life differently. Jesus is ridiculed but responds that salvation has come to that house because of forgiveness. Zacchaeus, I imagine, is walking tall.
Many of us approach salvation like a magic pill. We expect that as soon as we accept Christ that the world changes and faith becomes easy. In truth, we are what has changed and the weight of sin has been lifted… unless we pick it back up again and somehow our faith seems to be broken because lift is just as hard as it was. We conclude either we are not saved or God has not forgiven us… or is not real. The truth is that when we left the altar of forgiveness, we either walked away with every burden we came with, or we got back up on the Throne of God for our life and doubt His power, choosing to control our own life. We are enabled with power to forgive and with forgiveness. It is when we rely on our own definitions that our own lives get heavy, or others remains heavy. We are to actively pursue faith and when we have it, to walk free of the burdens we once carried.
Have I truthfully cast every burden before God or do I still carry some?
Am I willing to pursue faith actively or do I expect the world for me?
Is Christ on the Throne of my life, or have I placed Him at my feet?