â€œThere but for the grace of God, go I.â€ I have thought and said that so often. Did you ever wonder about the origin of that saying? George Whitefield, an 18th-century evangelist, was heard to say this as he watched a man walking to the gallows. Forgiving a sinner is remembering that I, too, am a sinner.
The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.
The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.
The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.
They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb.
By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults.
Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:7-14
God is gracious and good to me. He sets His commandments before me and teaches me His way. He desires that I obey out of love for Him. He has forgiven me of SO MUCH.
It is His Holy Spirit that softens my heart and causes me to bow my head in adoration. It is His Holy Spirit that touches my spirit, making mercy and grace real to me. Then I know, just a little, about Godâ€™s great love and forgiveness. As that mercy and grace flows in me, there is an opportunity for it to just continue to flow out of me and bathe others with its life-giving power. Forgiveness, the chain-breaking freedom of forgiveness, is revealed.
Mercy is forgiveness without criticism or contempt. It is an understanding that truly except for Godâ€™s grace there I would be. God looks at sin and sees something disgusting and too gross to be near! He looks at the sinner as someone who is â€˜save-ableâ€™ and a child that needs discipline but not be kicked to the curb with the trash!
Godâ€™s laws, precepts, commands, ordinances are sign posts in my life to direct me in Godâ€™s path and avoid all the not-God detours and potholes that can hurt, even destroy, me. As I chafe under Godâ€™s bridle of care, I can call to my mind the alternative road and remember how I longed for Him to pull me, even yank me back to His way!
Take some time today and read the whole of Psalm 19. Consider Godâ€™s ways in your life. Ask God for His mercy to forgive you. Ask God for His grace to strengthen and heal you. Praise God for His enormous, never-ending love that He just keeps on giving.