Psalm 51: 1-17
This Scripture passage reminds me of a memory long ago when I was in elementary school and had to write 100 word or 300 word essays on why I shouldn’t talk in class. Or perhaps write a line over and over again on the blackboard: I will not talk in class or I will not pass notes in class or I will not chew gum in class. The actual offense escapes me, but I remember more than once writing mindless sentences to absolve my sins. They were the “penance” of how to rid you of your wrongdoing, but brought on immeasurable guilt and shame.
One of the memories that I’ve never been able to completely blot out happened a few days before my 8th grade graduation. The principal at that time was watching our class when I happened to pass a note to a friend of mine. The principal came back to where the note was being passed and quickly confiscated it. She asked who had passed that note and I admitted to the offense. But that was not all. When we walked out of class for lunch, the principal called me aside and said, “I will never be able to look at you the same way.” That has stayed with me all my life. I screwed up and someone would think of it every time she saw me … she would never forget it. It would be a forever sin.
Thank goodness God isn’t like that. With memories like that who wouldn’t want to soak in God’s presence, the one that is “generous in love—huge in mercy”? He is a God of great compassion that can “blot out the stain of my sin.”
Matthew West sings “I’m the one with big mistakes, big regrets and bigger breaks than I’d ever care to confess,
But you’re the one who looks at me and sees what I was meant to be, more than just a beautiful mess
You are everything that I live for; everything that I can’t believe is happening, you’re standing right in front of me with arms wide open.”
God loves us even when we mess up, even when we feel it’s pointless to go on because we keep making mistakes. For me, I’d like to never say anything that makes others feel uncomfortable or upset. But I keep doing it. And I keep coming back to God for mercy….and forgiveness.