Tag Archives: forgiveness

This Sinner’s Prayer  

praying hands12 But who can discern their own errors?
    Forgive my hidden faults.
13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
    may they not rule over me.
Then I will be blameless,
    innocent of great transgression.

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
    be pleasing in your sight,
    Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:12-14

I can’t say that David had the same things in mind that I have in mine when he wrote, sang, and delivered these lyrics to Israel’s “Worship Pastor” (what an amazing job that would’ve been!). But that’s the beauty of the Bible’s poetry. It’s more visceral than academic. Nevertheless, as I was reading this on a day when my own sinfulness was more evident and more bothersome than most days it fostered a conversation with God about my “errors, hidden faults, willful sins, and great transgressions.” Continue reading

Greater Than Our Hearts (part 2)

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God… 1 John 3:19-22

He knows my future possibilities and how to get me there

He knows everything about how I performed in the past and why, and about the power of Jesus’ sacrifice to overcome my failures, and how he plans to convert them into a better future. The scope of his big picture vision is amazing. There’s no doubt that sin is a setback, a delay of God’s preferred vision for us. But since he’s been working with Plan B since the beginning, he who knows everything, knows how to make beautiful things out of broken pieces. Continue reading

Greater Than Our Hearts (part 1)

This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God … 1 John 3:19-22

“God is greater than our hearts and he knows everything.” Are those the two most obvious statements you’ve ever heard, or what? He is better than us and knows better than we do. So far nothing new. You gotta know that John must’ve meant that he’s greater than our hearts in some specific way and knows everything about something in particular. Continue reading

TRUST ME, FORGIVE, AND LEAVE THE JUDGING TO ME

[This is the third of fourteen passages that sustained me in the while in the dark.]

Psalm 37:3-9

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;

       dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

 4 Delight yourself in the LORD

       and he will give you the desires of your heart.

 5 Commit your way to the LORD;

       trust in him and he will do this:

 6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

       the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

 7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;

       do not fret when men succeed in their ways,

       when they carry out their wicked schemes.

 8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;

       do not fret—it leads only to evil.

 9 For evil men will be cut off,

       but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

I camped in the Psalms (David’s Poetic Diary Set To Music) for many months. The poems legitimized my sufferings yet challenged my self-centeredness. This one in particular built a protective hedge around me and helped me make better choices than my lower person was tempted to make particularly during my divorce. This Psalm spoke directly to my fears, hurts, bitterness, and desires for revenge and gave me some wise counsel that I needed in order to chart a reasonably healthy course for my new future. Continue reading

Still more on forgiveness (forgiving God)

Heaven renders unanswerable “why” questions irrelevant and inspires us to live with them in hope. Gregory A. Boyd

Lord, if this is the way you treat your friends, no wonder you don’t have many! Mother Teresa

 Back at the beginning of the bleakness, over Chinese food my friend Joe asked me if my faith in God was in tact since life had become so incomprehensibly dark for me. He was concerned for me and wanted to know how to best support me in my dark night of the soul. I told him that though I didn’t question God’s character, I wondered if he had very “good judgment.” Joe and I had been friends for many years, and he wasn’t used to hearing me talk quite that way, but since he asked, I thought it best to answer honestly. With flushed face he promised to pray for me, which I obviously needed and gratefully welcomed. Continue reading

Unhooking from the bumper (On forgiveness) part three

I was feeling pretty good about all this letting go stuff when I ran into a snag, one of the many snags in the Bible on which I’ve gotten hung up. I got to thinking about Jesus’ prayer from the cross, “Father, forgive them…” He didn’t look down at his wild-eyed crucifiers and say “I forgive you for what you’re doing to me.” When he asked the Father to forgive them his prayer was a light-year advanced beyond forgiving them himself. He prayed for the Father to let them off the hook. At first I thought, “I can let them off my hook, but I’m not going to ask God to let them off his! I’m not Jesus, so God wouldn’t expect me to go that far — Would he?” Continue reading

Unhooking from the bumper (On forgiveness) part two

[Here’s a draft of the second of three parts on forgiving… All one chapter in the forthcoming memoir I’m planning to publish soonish…]

Forgiving small things is easy, like when the neighbor didn’t pick up after their dog and I stepped in it, or like that time the barber used the wrong number clipper on me and made me look like a Marine. I can release flyspeck hurts with one swing of the forgiveness swatter. It’s the elephant-size offenses – the big-ticket items – that often require a more insistent and incremental approach. It takes more time to cut through the multi-stranded cord of massive offenses than the ones tied with thread. Unless, of course, the thread is wound repeatedly, say, seventy times seven. At least that’s the way it is for me. I’m fantasizing vindictive visions way before triple digit infractions. Continue reading