Reconciliation: The Ever-giving Gift

Our God, you bless everyone whose sins you forgive and wipe away.
You bless them by saying,
“You told me your sins, without trying to hide them, and now I forgive you.”

Before I confessed my sins, my bones felt limp, and I groaned all day long.
Night and day your hand weighed heavily on me,
and my strength was gone as in the summer heat.

So I confessed my sins and told them all to you.
I said, “I’ll tell the Lord each one of my sins.”
Then you forgave me and took away my guilt.

We worship you, Lord, and we should always pray
whenever we find out that we have sinned.

Then we won’t be swept away by a raging flood.
You are my hiding place!
You protect me from trouble, and you put songs in my heart because you have saved me.

You said to me,
“I will point out the road that you should follow.
I will be your teacher and watch over you.
Don’t be stupid like horses and mules that must be led with ropes to make them obey.”

All kinds of troubles will strike the wicked,
but your kindness shields those who trust you, Lord.
And so your good people should celebrate and shout.      Psalm 32 (CEV)

Lectionary texts: Joshua 5:9-12, Psalm 32, 2 Corinthians 5:16-21, Luke 15:1-3, 11-32

Last Tuesday God reminded me of His desire for reconciliation with me. I am humbled to hear it again today. The Scriptures in this lectionary are filled with promises and comfort. They also carry warnings.

It is in this psalm that I see why God loved David so much. Less-than-perfect, sinful David was counted as a “man after God’s heart” (Acts 13:22). And so I see how God can love less-than-perfect Jody.

Confess my sins now. I met a woman my freshman year in nursing school. She had found a lump in her breast. It frightened her. She decided to ignore it; not think about it. When I met her, the lump had grown to the size of a grapefruit. There was nothing the doctors could do. The tumor was so invasive that they could not even safely remove it for her comfort. She would die in the hospital. I remember this woman as if it were yesterday and yet I am still learning the lesson that her life would teach me. Ignoring a sin in my life will not make it go away. It will become an invasive “cancer,” infecting many more areas of my life until it destroys my life, robbing me of joy, of life.

There are no sins that God does not know in me. There are no closets or dark corners that His Light will not illuminate. There is no sin too horrible that cannot be washed by Jesus’ blood. Read the Luke passage. Yes, it is Jesus’ story of the prodigal son. Yes, it is familiar. Why do I love that story so much? Why is it so familiar to me? Because it is so easy to see myself in the story.

Repent now. We aren’t told how long the prodigal son spent working in the pig pen. How long does it take me to come to my senses? Years. Some people would call me strong-willed. Stubborn would be another word. I am making a major change in my life right now that has taken – oh, about 30 years to happen. Yes, stubborn, strong-willed, and not very bright. The prodigal son and I do have a lot in common. We also have a loving Father in common. Instead of continuing to try to get myself out of the mess I am making, it is best to drop to my knees and say, “Father, I have sinned against You and all that You are. I am not worthy to be called Your child. Please forgive me.”

Receive God’s perfect, complete forgiveness now. There is not an amount of prayer or special form that is required for my Father to forgive. It is simply about my heart. Am I sorry? Do I want to change? Am I asking the Father to forgive and help me turn in a right path? God wants to have a relationship with me. He does everything to make that happen. He holds nothing back. God doesn’t manipulate or give “partial” forgiveness. Jesus died once for all (Romans 6:10 and 1 Peter 3:18). Just as the father showed the prodigal son, forgiveness from my Father God is a free gift, given immediately and completely.

I don’t want my Father God to think of me as stupid like a mule that needs a hard bit in my mouth. At least every evening, I want to invite the Holy Spirit to shine His light on my life and show me anything that I am ignoring that needs to be cut out of my life through confession, repentance and His forgiveness. If I brush my teeth every night because that is important for my physical health, then it is surely important that I spend this time with God for my spiritual health! And that will end the day with a celebration! I wonder if I won’t sleep better.

At the Cross written by Darlene Zschech & Reuben Morgan, sung by Hillsong Worship Team

 

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