Have mercy upon me, O God, according to your lovingkindness: according to the multitude of your tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (Psalm 51:1)
The above verse reminds us that the hunger for God’s favor and forgiveness is implicit in what it means to be human. We often find ourselves feeling some sense of regret, guilt or frustration with the way our life has gone. This is not only not unusual, it is one of the experiences that almost all people experience at one time or another. We do something we regret and we can’t seem to shake the burden that life places on us as a result – even if no one seems to know we are guilty, still we feel it inside ourselves.
We often begin our Sunday worship liturgy with confession and forgiveness. This is a rite in which we collectively share our guilt before God. No one is singled out for the things that have happened this week. We simply all share in the confession that we are not yet what God wants us to be. Someone among us may feel more guilty that the rest but it does not matter. We all confess and we all hear words of forgiveness. Someone among us every week needs to hear those words more than the rest of us. But the words are there for all of us, every week, for when it is our turn to feel the burden and need to hear God say, “I love you anyway.”
Sin is out of style in our culture We’d all prefer to feel better about ourselves and not feel the weight of our own brokenness, incompleteness or need of healing. But at any moment, all of us need to hear the message that God has forgiven us. And when we do, it comes as good news. The persistent love of God that we encounter in the death and resurrection of Jesus provides the basis for healing and new life. No matter what we have done, the God who loves us will not leave us alone.