Psalm 32Proverbs 15:8-11
This past Tuesday I was subbing for a Freshman English class during which the kids were taking 2 tests. I observed one young man simply give up. It was obvious he had not studied and prepared, so he resigned himself to failing. It reminded me of my Senior year in High School when I forgot about a major literature exam and didn’t study. With the help of a friend, I cheated on the test and knew I’d gotten an “A”. Well, within about 20 minutes of leaving the class, I just couldn’t handle the guilt I felt and went back to the teacher and tearfully confessed I had cheated. I was ready to accept the consequences of my actions which paled in comparison to the spiritual anguish I had just put myself through. My teacher was merciful, forgave me, and let me re-take the test–a different version, of course. I earned a good grade.
David describes this spiritual struggle and triumph in Psalm 32:5.
“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.”
When we pursue godliness, the Lord responds with love and mercy. Proverbs 15:9 tells us, “The Lord detests the way of the wicked, but loves those who pursue godliness.” The word “pursue” is really important here. Scripture doesn’t tell us to be perfect, to never sin or God won’t love us. Rather, if we confess our guilt and continue to strive to be like Him and honor his commands, we enjoy peace, joy, and a thriving relationship with Him and others.
The mercy my teacher showed me is nothing compared to the mercy of God who forgives us when we go to Him and are honest about our short-comings. I’m so thankful for a God who loves me as I am, sees my heart, and allows me to continue to pursue godliness and receive his love. This is Grace, and it relieves my guilt.
Grace and peace to each of you,