Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We do not really know how to forgive until we know what it is to be forgiven

Confession is an act of honesty and courage - an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God.-- Pope John Paul 2

(Scripture Text: Micah 7:14-15, 18-20)
Shepherd your people with your staff,
the flock of your inheritance,
That dwells apart in a woodland,
in the midst of Carmel.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead,
as in the days of old;
As in the days when you came from the land of Egypt,
show us wonderful signs.

Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt
and pardons sin for the remnant of his inheritance;
Who does not persist in anger forever,
but delights rather in clemency,
And will again have compassion on us,
treading underfoot our guilt?
You will cast into the depths of the sea
all our sins;
You will show faithfulness to Jacob,
and grace to Abraham,
As you have sworn to our fathers
from days of old.

Sinners that we are, we need to know that God does not dole out his mercy based on what we deserve but on his nature: “God, who is rich in mercy … brought us to life with Christ… . For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8).
Yet as marvelous as these truths are, many of us struggle to believe this. We feel that our sins are too numerous or terrible. We doubt that God could ever forgive us. We think that we’re unworthy of his love. Or perhaps we know that we have been forgiven, but we just can’t let go of the memory of what we have done. Burdened by guilt and shame, we replay it over and over in our thoughts.

If this describes you in any way, take up the word of God as your way to freedom: God “casts behind his back” all our sins (Isaiah 38:17). He “wipes them out” (43:25). He “remembers their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). Imagine, too, the lines that a fourteenth-century English mystic scrawled in the margin of a manuscript he was copying:

He abides patiently, he understands mercifully, he forgives easily, he forgets utterly.

Our sins don’t live on in God’s memory, so don’t let them stay in yours!

Go to Confession frequently! Let your sins go!

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