Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Walk The Path
Step-by-step, the psalm takes the reader through the stages of repentance. It describes the constant mental replays, the gnawing guilt, the shame, and finally the hope of a new beginning that springs from true repentance.And the post concludes:
In a remarkable way, Psalm 51 reveals the true nature of sin as a broken relationship with God. David cries out, “Against You, You only, have I sinned” (v.4). He sees that the sacrifices God wants are “a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart” (v.17). Those, David has.
Repentance is the soil in which forgiveness flourishes.We are often told we need to forgive someone, even if they are unrepentant. I am of mixed opinion on that, certainly someone has to take the first step towards restoring a relationship.
But this I can tell you - Trust and depth of relationship cannot develop absent repentance. Once you have been wronged by someone, even if you forgive that wrong, you cannot trust them unless they acknowledge in some fashion that they know they messed up and that they will at least endeavor not to make that mistake again. A cordial relationship may perhaps ensure, but a deep relationship just is not possible without that trust.
That is why I love that soil and growth metaphor. As repentance comes in stages, so does forgiveness. It moves slowly from "I agree not to hold that against you" to "nothing ever happened." But it is a dance.
And there is more. Not only does forgiveness from the other grow with repentance, but forgiveness of ourselves. Even when we will not admit it, we know when we have screwed up and it bother us.
And that, in the end is when we truly flourish in our relationship with Christ. When His love for us and our acceptance of it allows us to take an honest look at ourselves, and know that in spite of the garbage we see strewn around our lives that we are loved. We can forgive ourselves and endeavor never to make that particular mistake again.