Nancie’s Blog

Why I Need Yom Kippur



Yom Kippur’s lessons are profound because it deals with sin. And we all sin, we all come short. We all need forgiveness.


Tonight Yom Kippur begins and lasts for 25 hours. We Christians can learn powerful lessons from Yom Kippur, one of the holiest days of the Jewish calendar. But before Yom Kippur actually begins, we are to clear the slates with others. Yom Kippur is about repentance with God, as it is a day of atonement and repentance. So: Forgiveness with others, First.

Clear my own accounts with others, first. On this holy day, I ask myself, Do I have any unfinished business? I have come to see that I never come to the end of needing forgiveness or needing to forgive. It is true that we are often furthest from ourselves and there are times to prayerfully examine our own hearts and spirits and ask the Holy Spirit to show us. We know we are to forgive our enemies, but is there a possibility that I am someone else’s enemy? Jesus said, “If you are at the altar and remember that someone has something against you, go make it right. Then come and bring your offering.”

We are never more like Jesus than when we forgive. It is true that forgiveness costs us (the right to be right), but un-forgiveness costs even more. Forgiveness frees us from the bondage of the past. And sometimes the last person we let off the hook is our own selves.

Then in the spirit of Yom Kippur, we come with repentance before God. We don’t talk much about repentance anymore, but repentance is the powerful doorway to an intimate relationship with God. I think of David’s prayer…one I will pray today: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”[1]

Yom Kippur’s lessons are profound because it deals with sin. And we all sin, we all come short. We all need forgiveness.

Here is the truth: It matters not if one has the most beautiful home, challenging job, or any kind of material blessings one would want. It’s quite empty if there is not love and forgiveness and cleansing in the soul.

If we allow ourselves to be consumed by anger or injustice or old wounds, life becomes bitter, and makes life bitter for those nearby. Peace comes when we have the courage to see our own sin, our own shortcomings, and ask forgiveness. Peace comes when we can become reconciled to imperfections—ours and others. Injustice, loss, unmet expectations, disappointment in ourselves and others can be difficult to reconcile.

Life is messy. But the prophet’s ancient words comfort us: “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:21-23).

[1] Psalm 51

About the Author

Nancie CarmichaelNancie lives in a tiny mountain community in Central Oregon. She has written many books including "Selah" and "Surviving One Bad Year." She speaks at a variety of conferences and retreats. She and her husband Bill are publishers and parents of five grown children and 14 grandchildren. Her book, "The Unexpected Power of Home" will be released in the Fall of 2018.View all posts by Nancie Carmichael

  1. Clare Forwafrd
    Clare Forwafrd10-04-2014

    Hi Nancy,
    This is so amazing that you wrote about this today. I just had a conversation today with a man that Bob works with. He is a Jew and is celebrating Yom Kippur tonight and tomorrow until midnight. I have talked with him quite freely over the years about my relationship with Jesus, he always listens and we exchange ideas on many levels. He is brilliant, held two seats on the New York Stock Exchange at one time. I have prayed for him for 15 years. I wondered if you could send me your article in an email so I can send it on to him? I think it would be a good witness to him about Christians acceptance of Jews and many of their religious holidays.
    Hope all is well with you guys, we are good as is our family with all the comings and goings of life. Never a dull moment, and I love most of those moments. 🙂
    Love to you,

    • Nancie Carmichael
      Nancie Carmichael10-04-2014

      Hi Clare!
      This is amazing. I saw a piece on Yom Kippur, then looked it up and realized what a powerful observation it is…and the beautiful thing is that Jesus is our atonement. Will send the piece to you…Love & hugs,


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