Many years ago I messed up pretty big. (Well, it happens much more often than I’d like to admit.) But this particular situation involved a close friend. Honestly, I can’t remember all of the details anymore. But … I was guilty. I remember getting a call from my friend–a call I had to take alone.
We talked about the situation for a while. Then she said the words, I forgive you, Dianne.
I was stunned. I almost couldn’t reply.
In our family, we say I’m sorry; will you forgive me? on a pretty regular basis. But between friends, not so much. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because we don’t spend enough time around one another to really agitate each other. Regardless, I wasn’t prepared for that. I should have been, though. My friend is a precious believer.
There is nothing like forgiveness–a clean slate.
About a month ago my ladies Bible study focused on David’s sin win with Bathsheba. He messed up big time. He broke the two biggies. He stole another man’s wife, and then had him killed to cover up her pregnancy. Eventually, the prophet Nathan confronted David with his sin.
This is David’s response:
Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. (Psalm 51:10-12)
When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long.
Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me.
My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.
Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt.
I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”
And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. (Psalm 32:3-5)
I’ve read these verses countless times. I’ve often prayed the verses from Psalm 51. But when I read them this time, I had a fresh appreciation for what I think David was saying. I think he must have been so upset with himself, that he wanted to hide. Facing the truth of his sin was utter humiliation. He was a leader of Israel, yet he fell in the most public of ways. All he wanted was to be clean. To be forgiven. To have a fresh start. And that’s exactly what God did. You can feel the relief in verses 1 and 2.
Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!
Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! (Psalm 32:1-2)
Have you ever felt that way? Made such a mess of things, hurt people (maybe even yourself), and all you wanted was to turn back time and start over.
We can’t turn back time. We can’t erase the consequences of our sin. But God does, indeed, give us a fresh start.
The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance;therefore, I will hope in him!’ (Lamentations 3:22-24).
I think Paul says it best.
When you belong to Christ Jesus, you are not condemned! No one is pronouncing you guilty. Jesus assumed all the punishment for the guilt of your sin. You have that clean slate. That fresh start. You are without condemnation!
My friend? She modeled this to me so beautifully. She could have pressed in to make me feel guilty. But she didn’t. She offered forgiveness. Where there is forgiveness, there is love!Where there is forgiveness, there is love!