READINGOld Testament: Jeremiah 12:1-16
Psalms: Psalms 51
New Testament: Philippians 3:1-14
Gospel: John 12:9-19
Evening Psalms: Psalms 69:1-23
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin….Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.”
Guilt is a feeling that I am very familiar with. I can easily relate to David’s words in Psalm 51 showing that he is filled with remorse and shame over things he has done. I know that I feel guilty when I am responsible for an action I regret. Like most, I have a moral code, or an idea of what I think is right and wrong. Whenever I consider doing something in contrast with that moral code, my guilt often kicks in and prevents me from doing so before I even act. Because I don’t want to feel guilty, my human nature leads me to treat people in accordance with my moral code. It is an emotion that can be crippling, and it is something that I know all too well.
In Psalm 51, which is one of the 7 Penitential Psalms, David is asking for God’s forgiveness. That is something that can be very easy for some and very difficult for others.
Forgiveness was not easy for me. I struggled with the ability to forgive for a good portion of my early life. I wasted too much time being angry and resentful. Then I met my husband. He has an incredible capacity to forgive and to move forward. Throughout our marriage he has shared this gift with me. I watched and I listened and I learned that, by not forgiving, the only person I was hurting was myself. I learned that when I readily forgive others, I am much more at peace than when I hold on to grudges against others and develop feelings of ill will. I also learned that, when I do forgive others, that is when I can truly seek forgiveness for myself and my mistakes.
My husband gave me an incredible gift when he taught me to forgive. It is a gift that we share with our children every day.
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”