Pride. Envy. Gluttony. Lust. Anger. Greed. Sloth. The seven deadly sins proposed by Evagrius Ponticus, a 4th century monk. And, as I read more about him, I find that there was actually an 8th deadly sin, which was love of self. It is believed that all other sins of human nature stem from these characteristics. There is plenty of these traits to go around for us all, and we all fall into these pitfalls throughout our lives.
But there is hope for us all in the form of forgiveness. We can either focus on the doom and gloom of sin and whatever level of guilt that we should feel goes along with our sins. OR, we can focus on the fact that we can simply turn to our great God, and simply say “I’m sorry.” He knows our sin even before we commit them, but, as a loving father, he also always waits for us to turn to him and ask for his forgiveness. Do we deserve that forgiveness? Not really. But our God is a God of grace and mercy, and if we ask, we shall receive.
In the passages from Psalms and Ezekiel today, we hear about a human race in need of God’s forgiveness. And God is waiting to hand out that forgiveness if we are willing to turn away from sin and seek out God. As it says in Ezekiel (vs. 12) that trying to be righteous is not what is going to save us. No matter how righteous we may try to be, we will still fall short of God’s expectations. But as stated in Psalm 130 (vs. 7) with God there is love, and he has the power to redeem.
And in the same way that God forgives us for our shortcomings, we need to do the same for each other. I know that this is something that I struggle with often. I find myself holding onto grudges, and at times I find my mind going to how I can get back at the person who did me wrong. But eventually I get talked off the ledge by someone and come back to my senses. It does me no good to hold grudges, and it takes away from the joy of the life I have been given.
So just as the Father forgives each of us for our shortcomings, we too need to turn the other cheek and forgive each other. If the one true God, who, in the snap of a finger can bring the rains for 40 days and 40 nights and wipe out civilization, instead chooses to look past our transgressions and forgive us and love us, we need to do the same for each other.
Check out this song by Matthew West: Forgiveness.