Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Journey of Forgiveness!

"Have mercy on my, O God, 
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy 
blot out my transgressions.  
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, 
and cleanse me from my sin...
Create in my a clean heart, O God, 
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, 
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit...
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
You will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."
Psalm 51:1-2, 10-12, 16-17

The Lord has been leading me on a journey of understanding His grace and His mercy, but also of recognizing the depth of my own sin.  I've had many chances lately to listen to a friend share her struggles in her marriage, with her family, her hurt, her disappointments.  I often just listen, not knowing how to respond in Spanish (or at all for that matter!)  But the word that has come to mind each time is "forgiveness."  And yet, how can we truly forgive someone if we don't ourselves understand the Gospel?  Can we?  How can we extend grace and live with joy and peace in the midst of hurt if we don't understand the grace that has freely been given to us?  I don't think we can.  
And so this question has penetrated my own heart these last two weeks, and started my own personal journey.  Why am I so quick to get offended or hurt by people when they fail me?  Why do I have such high expectations for people, and yet expect people to just accept me and love me for who I am?  Why am I slow to forgive and overlook an offense?  Is it because I don't fully understand what Christ has saved me from?  Do I truly grasp the depth and the depravity of my own sin?  David writes in this psalm, "I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me."  Is this true of me?  Do I understand the Gospel for ME?  That I am a sinner, saved by grace.  I am learning that it is only when we truly understand the depth of Christ's forgiveness,  that we are able to forgive others.  "As the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive." (Col. 3:13)  As He has forgiven me... How has He forgiven me?  Unconditionally and fully--and before I could do anything to earn it!!  It seems that I often "expect" something before I will truly forgive.  I often have the attitude of, "you owe me something to make up for what you did."  Yet this is not how Christ has forgiven me.  I don't have to "make it up to him."  It is FREE!!  He lavishes His grace on us, freely!!  I have been sharing this message to our friends here, and yet the question is the same for me:  Do I truly believe the Gospel is for me??  And am I extending that same Gospel towards the people closest to me?  
Lord, teach me how to forgive this way, how to extend the grace of the Gospel unconditionally, how to overlook an offense.  Show me the depths of my own sin, the depravity of my own flesh. And overwhelm me Your grace, that I may overflow with grace towards others. I want to love much, because I have been forgiven much!

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