Every Easter, in most of our churches, a discussion of the Vicarious Atonement comes up, and, whatever denomination you happen belong to, it always means the blood sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Now, I believe this with all my heart, but let us examine the definition of atonement. According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, atonement means the following principles: “1 obs: RECONCILIATION 2: the reconciliation of God and man through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. 3: reparation for an offence or injury: SATISFACTION < made_____ for his cruelty> 4 Christian Science: the exemplifying of man’s oneness with God.”
At first glance, the idea of receiving atonement seems to be a simple concept, but it is, in reality, far more complex than you might realize. The Vicarious Atonement discussed in definition 2 is a good example of this. By accepting Jesus as the bearer of this sacrifice you are putting yourself into debt. Not that I am implying we in some way pay Him back, but accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior essentially means repenting of our sins and living in submission. Human atonement, in comparison, means to be at reconciliation with others. This is an imperfect atonement weakened by nature, but it is this very atonement I will be discussing a belief.
At the age of sixteen, I was a very foolish young man and didn’t particularly practice any atonement. Like many guys that age my life revolved around the tempting thoughts of sex, easy living and rock ‘n roll. I gave very little regard to the feelings of women. As a young man who didn’t respect others, I had very little regard for their honor, and idols of sloth and lust soon took root. Coming of age became a wasted period of sin where I followed the example of Hugh Hefner-a man who most certainly is not worthy of it, but then a wonderful thing happened.
Caring and decent women slowly but surely became “Nurse Ratched”. There was a young lady classmate of German decent who said quite crossly after our second meeting, “I’ll spank your butt!” There were the numerous old women I meant who were caring enough to be disciplinarians, and there was an instructor who refused to accept low standards.
Why bring this up you may ask? Why do I believe this is a good example of atonement? The atonement part comes in upon my realizing a need of repentance, and, while, this may seem like a lengthy essay designed to embarrass everyone concerned there is a real point to be made here.
I believe one of the problems the men I used to look up to have is an inability to repent of wrong doings. Mr. Hefner may have had similar experiences growing up, but he never seemed to learn anything. So, while, I’m very happy for him I wish that he to could understand the principle of atonement. Every man should come of age with “Nurse Ratched”.