From Lasting Hope Devotional
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
in your great compassion
blot out my offenses.
Wash me through and thrfouh
from my wickedness,
and cleanse me from my sin.
God does not wish to regard our sins and punish us as we daily deserve but to deal graciously with us, to forgive according to God's own promise, and thus to grant us a joyful and cheerful conscience so that we may stand before God in prayer. . . But such a confident and joyful heart can never come except when one knows that ones' sins are forgiven. - Martin Luther, The Large Catechism
We begin with grace:
Psalm 51 is traditionally known as King David's resposne after the prophet Nathan revealed to him the harm he had done to Bathesheba and her husband, Uriah. Like David, we often do not recognize an action as sin until someone shows us another perspective on it. Then we realize we were not just "blowing of steam" harmlessly: a friend was frightened by our outburst. We did not simply borrow that money: we took it without permission and have no idea how we will pay it back. That constant comparison of ourselves to a colleague who seems to have it all has turned into something toxic for both of us. Behavior we might once have glossed over is dangerous and powerful. It has the potential to shred loving connections with God and our neighbor.
When we realize such things, Psalm 51 gives us words to speak about them. In the first verse, we speak of God's grace three ways: as mercy, steadfast love, and great compassion. When we know God to be gracious, we have the courage to go forward. We can tell the truth and ask forgiveness.
Most merciful God, help us to trust in your compassion and steafast love. Free us from sin and raise us to new life. Amen
Lasting Hope Devotions for Lent 2019
copyright 2018 Augsburg Fortress, Minneapolis