What does it mean to “retain” someone’s sins? And why would anyone want to do that?
In New Thought, they say, “See the other person whole, perfect, sinless.” This heals the other person, because it acknowledges the perfection in which they were created. Any “sinfulness” they have acquired, such as meanness, selfishness, fear, pride, etc., they have created for themselves. God did not create the illusion.
Seeing people the way God created them (perfect) tends to dissipate the illusions within which they live.
In terms of John 20:23, this is the “remission” of sins. Knowing the truth about a person sets them free.
Why, then, would you want to retain the illusions harbored by another person?
To answer this, we first have to talk about KARMA. Not the karma you learned at your mother’s knee, the kind that sounds more like the wrath of God, but the real karma that was created as a means for us to learn and grow.
We live in a system that returns to us what we give out, vibrationally speaking. If you vibrate hatred in someone’s direction, they are going to respond with anger—towards you. Vibrate love, and they will want to give you things—good things. The purpose of life on Earth is to learn the difference. Repercussions, both good and bad, are the mechanisms by which we figure this out. Every action comes with its own consequences.
But if we interrupt the learning curve by rescuing a person from the consequences of his or her actions, we make the process longer, and therefore more difficult.
WARNING: This little chunk of philosophy can be greatly abused, and has been for millennia. Case in point: the Hindu Caste System, which, by the way, goes by different names in every social system on the planet, both religious and secular. People suffer because of their actions in previous lives, previous jobs, previous relationships, previous _______(fill in the blank). People are poor because they’re lazy; people are stupid because they didn’t study in school. The justifications for self-righteousness go on and on. This is not an endorsement of karma, nor does it reflect what karma really is. This is the lack of compassion.
“Retaining” someone’s sins is the opposite of seeing them whole. It is saying, without rancor, “This is what you are doing.” It’s when the person cutting in line catches you looking at them, and the look in your eyes says, “Yep, you’re cutting in line.” You don’t smile, you don’t say, “That’s okay.” You don’t let them off the hook. You are simply observing. You don’t say to yourself, “Maybe they’re in a hurry. Maybe they have a child waiting in the car. Maybe_________.” Instead, you KNOW that what they are doing is a violation of the rights of others.
This is “retaining” their sins. It is also “righteous judgement.” The word “righteous” means “lawful.” When someone is breaking the rules, you don’t let it slide. You don’t condemn them for it, but you don’t excuse it, either. Nine times out of ten, when someone makes excuses for someone else, it’s to cover their own transgressions, not because they have a generous heart.
In some systems of thought, the retention of sins is called “mirroring.” You mirror back to the other person exactly what they are putting out. Mirrors hold onto nothing. They take nothing away. They give back exactly what they see.
How much mileage does a person need from their errors before they finally learn from them? How many other people have to suffer at their hands before they learn their lesson? If you jump in and pre-empt their learning process, you are aiding and abetting the crime.
Jesus did not invent this principle. Neither did anyone else. It was here when we showed up. Like air, like water, like the Sun and the Moon. The Earth is like a time-share condo; it has rules; it has availability dates; it has a contract. Break it, and the consequences kick in. It’s not good or bad. It’s just business.