It’s easy to fall into sin, but very hard to feel alive again and ask God for forgiveness. Most times we withdraw and run away from the creator, we feel dirty, guilty and terrible. But today I want to tell you that you can have a friend like Jesus! He will hold you close in shame, in pain and in Christ. I’m currently reading finding freedom from sin and shame, and this is what Day three has for us:
Asking for forgiveness is hard. To seek forgiveness for an offense, we have to admit we were wrong. We have to come face-to-face with our guilt, then confess it to another.
Seeking forgiveness requires us to humble ourselves; to be vulnerable before another person. And if there’s anything we humans fear, it’s vulnerability.
But the reasons we fear asking for forgiveness are the same reasons we benefit from it. Each time we seek forgiveness, we remember that we are not perfect, nor could we ever be. Like David, who wrote Psalm 51, we were sinful at birth. And only Jesus could set us free.
David wrote this psalm after committing adultery with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11 and 2 Samuel 12). Imagine the lies David might have been tempted to believe: “You’ve done it this time! God will never forgive you for that.”
But by coming to God, vulnerable and humble, David gained a new understanding of the depth of God’s compassion and love. And so can we.
No matter how dirty or unworthy we feel, God still wants us to come to Him. Our service and our sacrifice won’t change the past, but “a broken and contrite heart” is the fertile ground where intimacy grows.
“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise” (Psalm 51:16-17 NIV).
- Can you think of a time when forgiveness led to greater intimacy in your relationship with a spouse, friend, or coworker?
- Is there anything you’ve feared approaching God about? Will you follow David’s example as you pray today?
“God, be merciful to me because of your faithful love. Because of your great compassion, erase all the wrongs I have done. Scrub away my guilt. Wash me clean from my sin. I know I have done wrong. I remember that sin all the time. I did what you said is wrong. You are the one I have sinned against. I say this so that people will know that I am wrong and you are right. What you decided is fair. I was born to do wrong, a sinner before I left my mother’s womb. You want me to be completely loyal, so put true wisdom deep inside of me. Remove my sin and make me pure. Wash me until I am whiter than snow!
Don’t look at my sins. Erase them all. God, create a pure heart in me, and make my spirit strong again. Don’t push me away or take your Holy Spirit from me. Your help made me so happy. Give me that joy again. Make my spirit strong and ready to obey you. I will teach the guilty how you want them to live, and the sinners will come back to you. God, spare me from the punishment of death. My God, you are the one who saves me! Let me sing about all the good things you do for me! My Lord, I will open my mouth and sing your praises! You don’t really want sacrifices, or I would give them to you. The sacrifice that God wants is a humble spirit. God, you will not turn away someone who comes with a humble heart and is willing to obey you. God, please be good to Zion. Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you can enjoy the kind of sacrifices you want. You will receive whole burnt offerings, and people will again offer bulls on your altar.”
Psalms 51:1-7, 9-19 ERV