Repentance

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“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”

(Psalm 51:17)

Reflection:
We cannot earn or buy God’s forgiveness. David recognises this when he acknowledges that

“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.” (Psalm 51:16)

This does not mean that God’s appointed sacrifices were unimportant. It does mean that all the sacrifices and offerings in the world are without value if there is no repentance. It is not a sorrow for having been caught out. It is a horror at the sin itself and at our having embraced it.

If sin to us is nothing more than a mild naughtiness then we have missed the point completely. We have not begun to appreciate the blazing and blinding holiness of God – a holiness without spot, stain of even the slightest imperfection. We have also failed to grasp just how far we are from being the wonderful and glorious people God had in mind when He created us.

Forgiveness is a gift from God though the terrible suffering and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. Although it is held out as a free gift of grace it struggles to enter the heart and life that does not see its great needs. This is why Jesus taught us

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15)

An unforgiving person is unlikely to recognise their own great need. The unforgiving heart has hardened itself even against receiving forgiveness. One of the awesome qualities of true love is that it desires to forgive more than it looks for revenge or to inflict punishment. And so Jesus prayed,

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)

Response:
Let sorrow enter your heart before it comes from your mouth

Prayer:

Forgive me Lord where I have tried to deserve Your forgiveness. Thank You that it comes from Your great love to heal an aching heart. Amen.

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