S (Scripture): Psalm 51:4 Against you – you above all – I have sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. So you are just when you confront me; you are right when you condemn me. 5 Look, I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me…7 Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
O (Observation): This psalm is attributed to Kind David, and comes after he is confronted by Nathan, regarding David’s affairs with Bathsheba, including having Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, killed (2 Samuel 11-12). David acknowledges his guilt. He sees himself as a sinner. Convicted. Guilty of sin from the moment he was conceived! He recognizes not only his place in the world – a sinner – but also his redemption being found in God alone. Only God could make him clean. And in that forgiveness, he who was formerly stained in sin, would be forgiven, washed whiter than snow. And not only washed, but re-established into a full relationship with God.
A (Application): What is forgiveness? We discussed this in our Theology on Tap conversation last night. 12 of us, pontificating on what forgiveness is…what it means…how it is given…how it is received…how does it work…whom do we forgive…how do we receive forgiveness…and on an on…
Release is a key word for me. We are trapped, but in forgiveness we are released. If we owe the debt to someone else, and we are forgiven…we are, in a sense, released from that burden. (If we break the law, yes, we must face those consequences. I’m speaking from a spiritual perspective for the purposes of this devotion. One can certainly be incarcerated, yet forgiven by the victim or victim’s family…)
Release is also a key for the one doing the forgiving. None of us is higher than another, so when we forgive someone else, we shouldn’t see it as a “I’m morally superior to you and thus forgive you for your sin!” That’s not what I’m talking about. When someone slights you, sins against you…and you forgive that person, that releases YOU! You no longer have to hold onto that.
Finally, in that release, you have the most amazing component: the ability to re-establish a relationship with that person that you sinned against (or if they have sinned against you).
I experienced this recently with a long-time friend. I was harsh, and when confronted, sought forgiveness. I received it, and it opened things back up for us.
Here’s an article written by one of my favorite theologians, David Lose, regarding forgiveness (click here). And here is my favorite quote from that article:
Forgiveness cancels relational debt and opens up the future.
Yeah. It does. And I can personally testify to this statement.
P (Prayer): Lord, make us humble enough to recognize the need for forgiveness in all of our relationships. Amen.