Repentance and Forgiveness

Turn with me now to another psalm, Psalm 32. Written by David, this psalm is one of thirteen psalms that bear in their titles the Hebrew word maschi. This word means “to give instruction.” After David’s sin with Bathsheba, a year of silence went by regarding his behavior until he was confronted by Nathan the prophet (see 2 Samuel 12). Following that confrontation, a brokenhearted and repentant David wrote this psalm, a psalm of forgiveness and healing when everything goes wrong. Inspired by the Holy Spirit and penned by the hands of experience, it can be a tool in the hands of the Lord to mend your own broken heart.

In the first five verses of Psalm 32, David gives great insight into what to do when everything goes wrong. Look at the New King James Version with me:

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no deceit.

When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” And You forgave the iniquity of my sin.

David reminds us of where to begin when the failure has been our own. He extols the beatitude of “blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” There is but one way for sin to be forgiven, and that is by covering it. But first we must acknowledge it and repent of it; then we have the assurance of 1 John 1:9: “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” Praise God, the blood of Jesus covers our sins! But just as David had to agree with what God said about His sin, so too must we acknowledge our guilt and ask for forgiveness.

Dear friend, you might look back on your life and see times when you have erred. You may have failed miserably and hurt many people by your actions. I know from firsthand experience what that feels like. Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is yourself, especially if everything went wrong during a time when you had strayed from God. Sometimes you think you don’t deserve forgiveness, so you never contemplate confessing your sin and starting over.

I have overcome some major battles in my life, and one thing I have learned from doing so is something I often share with others trying to break free from destructive habits or the struggles of the past. Whatever you are facing, overcoming it is not as hard as your mind is telling you it is. When I was struggling with drinking, I remember thinking, “I want to stop drinking, but I know I can’t. Lifelong sobriety is just too much to expect. I’ve gone too far, and I’m in too deep.” That is a lie from the devil, friends, and denies the Word of God that I can do all things through Christ who provides strength. This illustration may be specific to an area that I battled, but the application is universal. Nothing is as hard as you think it will be, since Christ is your strength. Now please understand, I am not saying that changing is easy, but I am saying that our minds and flesh try to convince us it cannot happen, which is not true.

I urge you today to fall into the hands of a merciful God and cast all your cares upon Him. He cares for you and longs to bind up your wounds—even if self-inflicted. Take to heart David’s words in Psalm 32, and admit your wrong. From those timeless words, the first major point of this chapter is made:

Freedom and healing come through ownership of sin, not blame.

Even if everything going wrong in your marriage was primarily the fault of your spouse, there is still something for you to learn in the difficulty, a way for you to grow. Healing will never come if you wait for your spouse to take the blame, because you cannot control another person’s actions. You can control only your own actions, and healing will come only when you take ownership before God of your behavior.

Excerpt from “Happily… Even After” now available on Amazon.

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