Embrace God’s Mercy, Forgiveness
Embrace God’s Mercy, Forgiveness
** Read this article at bgnews.com/forum. **
** More of my articles from Spring 2013 **
By Phil Martin | Columnist
The BG News: Forum
Feb. 27, 2013
… Psalm 103 has become my favorite reference of Scripture over the past year. Whenever I felt upset or bummed out, this piece of Scripture gave me truth and hope.
In this Psalm, David expresses why we can bless God because of the benefits of His perfect love. Among the benefits, the Psalm points to God’s mercy, grace, faithfulness and tenderness.
For the sake of this column, I would like to focus on God’s mercy, which I’ve found in the following verses (Psalm 103: 3-4):
“[God] forgives all your iniquity… [He] redeems your life from the pit, [he] crowns you with steadfast love and mercy…”
First, I really like the part in verse three about God redeeming someone from the pit. When I read this verse, I always think about someone who sins repeatedly. Their life may literally spiral downward as their sin accumulates.
As this person is taught, the ultimate penalty for sin is death and total separation from God. This penalty is something we earn because we choose to act in a way that defies God and his plan for us.
With this penalty in mind, this person can become self-aware of their wrong ways. So they may desire to change. They might also take steps to change.
Unfortunately, the person’s situation may seem too great to overcome. Even more depressing, this person’s sole efforts may make things worse. I see it as the person trying to climb out of a grave they dug for themselves, but they keep falling back inside.
However, God is so powerful, He can help this person out of the grave. Every time I read the verse, I think about how God can pluck someone out of a toxic situation and place them into a favorable one.
Speaking of “plucking,” I spent a moment one night this past summer thanking God for doing this for me. I was bummed about how my sophomore year at the University ended. Then, I realized how much better things actually were for me than my freshman year. That year, baggage I inherited from high school still haunted me tremendously.
Although, I still felt hurt in July, God placed me in a better season of my life. I stood in my room at midnight for a few moments feeling warmth and awing at God’s grace.
The amazement of God’s grace at that moment in my life brings me to my second point: God’s grace comes with his mercy.
Verse 10 is true about God not dealing with us according to our sins. God doesn’t give us what we deserve – mercy. At the same time, he gives us what we don’t deserve – grace.
I really find it awesome that God loves us so much that he treats us this way. At times, I could’ve been punished more severely for seriously messing up. My friends and loved ones could have permanently disowned me for times I’ve hurt them. However, God is gracious and offers me second chances or redemption from my shame.
Finally, I would like to close with verse 12:
“As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.”
Sometimes I become very self-aware of my past misdeeds. Then, I start letting that define my character, which is shame. However, verse 12 tells me God loves us so much that if we look to Him we don’t have to walk in shame.
Bless the Lord, O my soul.
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- More of Phil’s articles on Forgiveness:
“Be Remorseful, Forgive Yourself” — The BG News
“Love Keeps No Record of Wrongs” — blog post