Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Whose fault??

Isaiah 59:1-4

See, the Lord's hand is not too short to save,
   nor his ear too dull to hear.
Rather, your iniquities have been barriers
      between you and your God,
   and your sins have hidden his face from you.
For your hands are defiled with blood
       and your fingers with iniquity;
   your lips have spoken lies,
       your tongue mutters wickedness.
No one brings suit justly,
       no one goes to law honestly;
   they rely on empty pleas,
       the speak lies,
   conceiving mischief and begetting iniquity.

Do you remember Flip Wilson's famous line:  "The Devil made me do it!"  We always want to blame someone else, don't we?  Frankly, I am weary of it.  How much better it would be if we admitted our errors/sins.  Just imagine if honesty was the "go to" position rather than the "fall back" plan.

I have told my share of whoppers in order to cover up what I have done or not done.  Alas, I do not have a poker face so it has rarely worked.  Admitting my mistakes certainly isn't always easy but it usually leads to reconciliation.  It mostly depends on how quickly I admit the fault.  The longer I wait, the angrier the person has time to become and anger seldom fades quickly.

There's a reason Jesus included "forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us" in the Lord's Prayer.  We need to ask for the barriers to come down daily.  God does not hide God's self from us but, if we are not willing to admit to the barriers, God won't help us take them down.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Psalm 103:10-12
 The Lord does not deal with us according to our sins,
   nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth,
   so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
   so far he removes our transgressions from us.

This is an incredibly comforting passage expressing a deep faith in the love for forgiveness of the Lord.  The description of that love and forgiveness is as high and as wide as the psalmist can imagine.  God is that passionate about us!

But even as I read this incredible statement, I am struck by two things.  The first is that we don't always want to be separated from our sins.  Sometimes we have rationalized ways to hang on to them. 

"I tried not being catty but my mind still thinks catty thoughts so I guess I'll just always be catty.  Nothing I can do about that." 
"I would love to lose weight but I just love to eat too much." 
"I know best; everyone else will have to come around."
"I'm a real sinner.  I've done things not even God could forgive."

Do you suppose we hang onto these things because we think they don't really hurt us or perhaps because we aren't sure we can handle God's unconditional love and forgiveness?   To be willing to open ourselves up to God in a way that allows that unconditional love to bathe every corner of our lives is scary.  But don't we crave that very thing?  Aren't we desperate for someone to love us, warts and all?  I wonder.

The other thing is that the psalmist seems to be saying that the Lord has judged us and found no compelling evidence to cast us out.  Why, then, do we insist on casting out others, particularly on the Lord's behalf?  Why do we turn to the same Bible that tells us of unconditional love to justify denying love entirely?

I believe God forgives us our sins if we are willing to let them go.  God may forgive them even if we aren't willing!  If I can believe that my sins are forgiven, why should I have a problem with God forgiving the sins of anyone/everyone else?  I really can't go there.  I hope you can't, either.