«Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered» (Psalm 32: 1).
I CAN’T HELP BUT FEEL SOME ADMIRATION for good translators. How do you so faithfully convey what was originally written or said in another language? Undoubtedly, it is a challenge.
Let us now think about another kind of challenge: the one faced by those who seek to translate the Word of God into new languages. One of the biggest difficulties facing these specialists occurs when they must translate words or ideas for which there is no equivalent term in the new language. Such as the case mentioned by Ruth Tucker.
The challenge Tucker refers to was faced by two Wycliffe Bible Translator specialists as they translated the New Testament into the bine language of Papua New Guinea, because in this language the word forgiveness doesn’t exist. How, then, can the gospel be explained to them?
Lillian Fleischmann, who was one of the translators, says they tried to solve the difficulty in several ways. One of them tried explaining to the natives that when a person forgives, they do not take revenge, but rather they forget the offense. The attempt didn’t work because in that culture ignoring an offense equals being a coward. The problem was solved in a way they never imagined. During a funeral ceremony, Fleischmann says, the head of the clan to which the deceased belonged to stood, took in his hands a container of water, and dropped several leaves into it. As he sprinkled the water into the air, he mentioned the names of the tribes present at the ceremony. After saying the name of each tribe, he said: Kalya.
Kalya. Could that be a word equivalent to «forgiveness»? Because it could well mean «innocent»; but we know that an innocent person does not need to be forgiven. After some inquiries, they learned that in this culture, Kalya means «free of guilt,» «free from punishment.» Exactly the word the translators needed!
And this is exactly the word you and I need to hear at the beginning of this new day! As sinners, we deserve to be condemned, but God has stood in the way and thanks to the sacrifice of His Son, today we can be free of guilt; that is, Kalya, thanks to the precious blood that Jesus shed. Free from all guilt! Free from the punishment we deserve! Thanks to this precious blood, not only have we been forgiven, but it has also cleansed us of all evil.
What do we say in regard to this? We say: praise be to the name of God! What else could be said?
Thank You, Jesus, because Your blood has cleansed my life of all guilt and given me a new chance. Thanks to this forgiveness, today I can write a new page in my life that says, «The old things have passed; they are all made new.»