This is another prayer from The Pilgrim’s Guide which participants receive during their Via de Cristo weekend. Every time I read through it I am humbled to see my own sin and God’s gracious forgiveness.
It is hard for me, O God to confess my sins and not merely repeat well-worn phrases with which I try to cover my real guilt.
I am a sinner. Why is it so difficult for me to see this, Lord? Why am I so bothered with a few things I do wrong while I think nothing of my lack of trust in you? Why do I feel guilty when I do not live up to my own standards but hardly blush when I fail you? Why do I imitate those who are unholy instead of following the Christ? I must confess it is because I am weak in the face of temptations, and without you I am nothing.
All I can do is plead mercy, O God. I cannot even hold up the honesty and fullness of my confession. All I can do is trust your love in Jesus Christ. I surely cannot trust my love for you or Him. Hear me for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lived for me and died that in Him I might live.
Forgive me, Father! Forgive me even this, my poor confession. I need your forgiveness for Christ’s sake. Amen
Before we end this month, I wanted to post a message and a song that’s been pulling at my heart. We all have crisis’s in our lives where we question God. What has happened just doesn’t make sense and we hurt and cry.
Many times I have to remember Romans 8:28 : And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [Emphasis mine]
Sometimes we just have to pray, Thy Will Be Done. We live in a fallen world. We are going to hurt and bad thing are going to happen. We can only kneel at the foot of the cross and say Thy Will Be Done.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist one who is evil. But if any one strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” Matthew 5:38-41
In this verse, Jesus is telling us not to seek revenge, but to forgive and even do good to the person who has wronged us. I guess I have always looked at that as my Christian “duty.” Something I was required to do instead of what I really wanted to do. Recently I decided I am thinking about it the wrong way. What if I made it gospel instead of law? (Lutherans love to talk about the difference). This kind of situation gives me a chance to show God’s grace to someone.
My husband loves to tell a story about our good friend, Gary. Gary and his family had moved to a house they were renting. The first evening they were there, the renter of the other half of the house came home and Gary went out to greet him and introduce himself. His neighbor responded with curses and a basic message of “leave me alone.” Gary’s response? “Gee, you must have had a terrible day, what’s wrong?” The two became friends because Gary saw his neighbor’s rudeness as an opportunity to share God’s love. He let him see Christ’s forgiveness and acceptance in the actions of another person.
How often do I let this same opportunity pass?
Have you ever thought about what a world without forgiveness would look like? Here are some of my ideas:
- We’d constantly be at war with other nations
- Different ethnic groups would be at odds with each other all the time
- You think a 50% divorce rate is bad — try 100%!
- No more family reunions!
- Churches and community organizations would close up — so long to all the good things they do
- Parents would abandon their teenagers
- Teachers would give up on their students
- Sports events would end up in fist fights
- We’d all die alone
- After death, what would we look forward to? Everlasting condemnation and separation from God
I wouldn’t want a world like that, would you?