Lately I’ve been reading the manga Full Metal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa. Full Metal Alchemist is set in a world where alchemy is the highest science. It is a place where things are created and shaped by other things simply by the science/magic of alchemy. Arakawa pens and draws the story of two ill fated brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric. They’ve committed the taboo, the grievous sin of human transmutation. They’re mother died and in attempt to bring her back, they failed epically. For one cannot create nor recreate a human soul. And in the process they meet Truth. In the rules of what is called Equivlant Exchange, one must give up something in order to create something else. Edward lost his leg. Alphonse his body. In an attempt to save his brother, Edward bonds his brother’s soul to a piece of armor, giving up his own arm to Truth in the process. Ed now has full metal prosthetic limbs and Al is in a giant suit of armor.
Now, if I haven’t confused your mind already, wait a minute. This all sounds a bit messed up. And it is. Arakawa writes of these two young men now dealing with their bad decision and trying to make it right. The rest of the manga series is about them trying to get their bodies back.
One main theme that runs throughout the manga series is to keep waking forward. To not look back at the sins of the past. And I think we have a lot to learn from that. They committed the great sin. But we’ve committed an even greater one. Every day we mess up. Every day we fall short of doing what’s right, what’s helpful. I know that I can call to mind many times where I spoke and I should’ve kept my trap shut. Where I did something I know I shouldn’t have and regretted it later. I know I’ve hurt people by what I’ve said and done. And to tell the truth, just like the Elric brothers, it haunts me to this day.
That’s the thing, their sin haunts them. And it keeps coming back to them. It keeps coming up. Each time they try to walk away from it, to walk forward, it comes back up once again. So many times I feel like that. I feel like the sins of the past keep coming back up and bite me. And it hurts. Those past regrets. Those words that can never be taken back again. Those wrongs which can never be righted. Always come back up.
And the Elric brothers, they struggle. They struggle hard. Yet the keep moving forward. They keep walking forward each and every day. They make mistakes along the way. The make hard decisions along the way to get their bodies back.
And it can be dark at times. It truly can be. They have a lot going against them. They live in the fictional country of Amestria. A military state which is having battles on all fronts. And something devious is happening with the President. A centuries old conspiracy about to come to fruition. To top it all off, Ed and Al’s father who left them when they were little, has returned back in their life.
Now they have to deal with problems against them from all sides and also the struggle with forgiveness. And they keep walking forward. They need to forgive themselves and they need to forgive their father. And the keep walking forward.
I think too many times we keep walking forward and forget about the past too much. The past is the past and it can come up again and again. And it can hurt. But there’s also the present. We must live each day in the present. And each day we must forgive ourselves and forgive others who’ve wronged us, who’ve hurt us, who’ve harmed us. And we need to keep walking forward.
One thing we have to remember when walking forward is this:
There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life has set me free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2
And this is what we have to remember when walking forward. What things keep you back? What things in your past have the problem of popping up again and again. Don’t let them get to you. There is now no condemnation. There is no longer the past. Only the future with Jesus. There is no longer the past that holds you back. There is only the future that you can continually keep walking towards. The future with Jesus at your side walking with you.
Not matter how great the sin might be, the forgiveness found in Jesus is greater. No matter how dark the sin is, the love of Christ is even brighter. So walk forward in the light knowing he is with you each step of the way.
Keep walking forward.