Prayer for Penitance - 11 July 2018

Hennie Symington

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak, and justified when you judge. Psalm 51:4

How serious are we about repentance? How sincere are we when it comes to expressing our heartfelt remorse at our wrongdoing? Do we blithely confess our misdeeds with a well-aimed apology believing that it’s all in the past?

Is there a difference between remorse and repentance? David acknowledges: "I have sinned" against God and man. Perhaps remorse could be seen as the wishful-thinking of“sorry, I shouldn’t have done this because it turned out badly for me,” whereas repentance implies a deep rethinking of your wrongdoing and considering the depth of the damage that was done, as well as the determination to avoid acting in a like manner in the future. The important thing is to realise that sin has a ripple effect of immense proportions that we need to deal with.

Steps to repentance: Step one is to acknowledge your sin unequivocally! In David’s case, he casts himself wholly at the mercy of our Creator. He does not approach God arrogantly to demand pardon as if it were somehow owed to him. Instead, he appeals to God’s “abundant mercy” (Psalm 51:1). Even though David has fallen deeply, he has not forgotten God’s covenant promise to forgive his repentant people. Indeed, he seeks refuge in the Lord’s revelation of God’s nature as the one who is “… merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6).

David does not run from God after having sinned; instead, he runs to the Lord. He well understands that since sin affronts his Maker, his only hope for restoration is from God himself (Psalm 51:4).

Prayer: Lord, sometimes a simple “I’m sorry” just doesn’t do it. Teach me to confront my wrongdoing and face up to the pain or harm I have caused. Only then Lord, can I rise up to start anew in the light of your forgiveness. Amen

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