Even at fifty-nine, I still worry about getting in trouble. I don’t want anyone to be upset or angry with me. I want to avoid conflict. I don’t want to mess up at all.
But of course, I can’t avoid trouble. I make plenty of mistakes; I hurt others. My sharp tongue. My bad attitude. Selfishness. Pride.
I make matters worse when I try to avoid the person I offended. Or I try to justify my wrongdoing. I get tongue-tied. I over-think.
The result of all my pretending and stewing and hiding? Misery. Complication. For both myself and the one I hurt. More than if I’d owned-up and admitted my wrong doing right away.
The only way to restore our relationship and for me to have peace is to admit my offense, ask for forgiveness, and change my behavior. Until then, I have no peace in my heart or mind.
And sometimes, because we are human, forgiveness still leaves guilt and shame in my heart. It puts a wariness in my relationship because I know, despite my best efforts, I will probably make that same mistake again.
The most important relationship in my life with God. Just like with people, I may avoid admitting I sin against Him. I avoid Him. Instead of time with Him in prayer and in His Word, I fill my time with Facebook, chores, grading papers.
The result, just like in my human relationships, is misery and lack of peace.
David, the man after God’s own heart, wrote:
Blessed is the one
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
whose sin the LORD does not count against them
and in whose spirit is no deceit.
When I kept silent,
my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
For day and night
your hand was heavy on me;
my strength was sapped
as in the heat of summer.
Then I acknowledged my sin to you
and did not cover up my iniquity.
I said, “I will confess
my transgressions to the Lord.”
And you forgave
the guilt of my sin.
(Psalm 35: 1-4)
Blessing—the blessing of peace—comes when I repent and God forgives. This doesn’t happen if I hide or pretend I don’t know my sin. It doesn’t happen if I withdraw from God.
When I acknowledge my sin, He forgives. And He blesses.
How does He bless?
He lets me hide in Him. He protects me from trouble. He surrounds me with songs of deliverance (Psalm 32:7).
He instructs me and teaches me instead of just expecting me to try harder and not mess up again. He says, “I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” (Psalm 35:8).
He surrounds me with His unfailing love (Psalm 32:10).
Abundant grace and mercy from God.
My response? Rejoicing.
Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous;
sing, all you who are upright in heart (Psalm 32:11)
My intentional living verse for this part of Lent, to help me be aware of my need to stay righteous and be blessed by God because He forgives, is Psalm 32:5