Repentance and Reconciliation

Psalm 51:1-2 (RSV)
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to Thy steadfast love; according to Thy abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!"

King David wrote the words of the above text after his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba was exposed by Nathan the prophet and he turned to the Lord with a repentant and contrite heart for forgiveness. And in spite of the evil David did in order to get Bathsheba, the Lord saw the sincerity of repentance in his heart and forgave him. David was called by God "a man after His own heart." What a great compliment! If God could hold David in such high regard, a man who on occasion committed grievous sins yet always repented of them, then there is hope for all of us who occasionally fall into committing a serious sin and return to the Lord in a spirit of repentance ands contrition.

Once in a while in our walk with Christ we stumble and fall to sin. A temptation comes, and due to our human weakness we succumb to it instead of turning to the Lord right away for strength to resist the temptation. In the aftermath, during the ensuing guilt, it is very easy to become discouraged and give up hope of ever receiving forgiveness and having a living relationship with Christ. It is easy to be tempted to think that the Holy Spirit has departed, since surely He cannot dwell within someone who has committed such a serious sin (whatever it may be). If someone has been convinced of this, it takes little time for that person to drift away from the One who can provide cleansing from that sin, reconciliation, and peace.

Jesus understands the trials and struggles we go through in our lives as we seek to follow Him. He is fully acquainted with what tempts us and causes us to fall, and He is ever ready with a strong and loving arm to pick us up when we fall and forgive us. So though we are prone to sin by nature, let us not lose hope and give in to despair when we do fall. Let us always return to the Lord in a spirit of repentance and contrition. He is ready and eager to take us back and cleanse us from our sin, to heal us, and to restore the broken relationship. Let us like David say:

"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Fill me with joy and gladness; let the bones which Thou hast broken rejoice. Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit." (Psalm 51:7-12)

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