Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities ... He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:1-3, NASB)
Who needs a sin forgiven? Go ahead. Raise your hand. Am I the only one with both hands in the air?
I find my sin nature so pesky. I know how I desire to speak to my family- especially when their own sin nature is acting up. I try to return evil with good and be kind. I want to love others more than myself. I long to lay my rights down and put others first. I wish to forgive, love, share, and live generously. In short, I desire to live like the Jesus who loves me.
But I don’t. I verbally retort. I slam doors. I take the best before others have the chance. I curse the slow driver in the left lane. I impatiently drum my fingers for the incompetent cashier. I sin. I. Need. Forgiveness. And I need to give forgiveness.
I confess that even when I forgive my family, or anyone else, for a way they hurt me, I find it difficult to really FORGET. When a similar instance reoccurs I can pull up the last time they wronged me (the time I “forgave”) and be even more upset. After all, this is a pattern. If they really loved me….
But the Lord is different. He looked on us, saw how we repeatedly sinned against Him and sent His Son to deal with our desperate need for forgiveness. His blood on the cross covers the sin as if it never happened.
- and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24 NASB)
Let's thank Him that when He forgives our sins, He forgets. He elects to put away our wrongs and never bring them up again. He is our compassionate Father and He knows our hearts. He does what we could never do for ourselves- He removes our sin.
- For as high as the heavens are above the earth, So great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. (Psalm 103:11-14 NASB)
How grateful I am that my omniscient Lord, CHOOSES to forget. Not only does He forget, He blots it out! Cleans it up!
- "I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins. (Isaiah 43:25 ESV)
The miracle of the resurrection is that the red of Jesus’s blood turns my blackest sin to pure white. My sin is as clean as the driven snow, to borrow a phrase. It doesn’t mean my sin is okay, but the Forgiving Lord takes the sins I confess and washes them away. Oh, how could I do anything but fall on my knees in pure gratitude?
- "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:18 ESV)
Alright, now here is where it gets really challenging- the WAY God in Christ forgives me, THAT is the way I am supposed to forgive. Completely. Undeservedly. Choosing to forget, and choosing to NEVER bring it up again.
But just think of the benefits of the Lord's way of forgiving. My loving relationship with Jesus is due to His total forgiveness. Maybe my earthly relationships would also be as richly deep if I didn’t hang on to past wrongs. I would be freed to love. Like Jesus does.
- Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 NASB)
Our Heavenly Father has always desired relationship. Though His people often forgot Him and His commandments, He never left them. He might forget our sins, but never us! When Nehemiah was rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, he recalled some of Israel’s history and said,
- "They refused to listen, And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them; So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But You are a God of forgiveness, Gracious and compassionate, Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness; And You did not forsake them. (Nehemiah 9:17 NASB)
Who is like our God? He takes our sins and casts them into the sea and as Corrie ten Boom said, "Puts up a no fishing sign." He deserves our praise over and over and over again!
- Who is a God like You, who pardons iniquity and passes over the rebellious act of the remnant of His possession? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in unchanging love. He will again have compassion on us; He will tread our iniquities under foot. Yes, You will cast all their sins Into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19 NASB)
Thank You that You forgive me Lord.
I am so grateful that I don’t have to earn forgiveness, for I never could. Thank you Jesus for paying for my sin. For taking on Yourself the punishment I deserved so that now I can stand in forgiveness. Thank You for being wounded that I might be healed.
I praise you, my compassionate Father, that You forget my sins. You, who are perfect, choose to remove my sins, to blot them out, and to wash them clean. You take my black heart, cover it with Your red blood, and transform it into white. Thank You for the miracle of forgiveness.
I rarely thank You for the gift and joy of cleanliness- in my heart and soul. But, I could never clean myself, so let me pause and say thank You! And thank You as well that each and every time I fall, muddy myself with sin or become contaminated with the world, I can confess and You forgive and cleanse again! Thank You that there is no limit to Your forgiveness.
I ask You Jesus to help me be a forgetful forgiver so that I can forgive as You do. I need You to help me not hang on to past hurts. As I lean into the reality of Your forgiveness, please help me look a little more like You. Gracious. Compassionate. Slow to anger. Abounding in lovingkindness. Quick to forgive and forget.
Thank You, my Forgiver. Thank You for delighting in loving me. I am so grateful to be loved by You. I love You Jesus.
Walk today in the freedom and sparkle of a clean, forgiven heart!
- Bless the LORD, O my soul, And all that is within me, bless His holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget none of His benefits; Who pardons all your iniquities ... He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. (Psalm 103:1-3, NASB)
Here are a few more verses to look up, if you would like: (Exodus 34:6-7) (Psalm 130:3-4) (Luke 24:45-47) (Ephesians 1:7) (Colossians 1:12-14)
Receive these prayers in your inbox for the rest of the month of January, 2018 and join us in concentrating on the amazing God we serve. He deserves our praise!