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When was the last time you said or did something that hurt someone else?

When we realize that our words or actions have damaged another person, what we long for most is grace and forgiveness from them.  We hope for their mercy.  And how wonderful it is when our sins, mistakes, weaknesses in character, or lapses in judgment are responded to with kindness rather than judgment. It is wonderful when “love covers sin.”

One of the great things about God is His capacity and commitment to forgive. In those moments when we have messed up royally or sinned miserably, feeling the pangs of guilt and shame, and deeply disappointed in ourselves, God’s heart of love remains open to us. In times like these, we are only a prayer away from forgiveness!

Listen to one of many declarations by the psalmist of God’s tender, forgiving heart toward us:

“O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for your help.” –– Psalm 86:5 (NLT)

The Apostle John was a man who understood the great grace of God.  When he first became one of Jesus’ disciples his nickname was “a son of thunder,” referring most likely to his volatile, intense personality. You can believe that John had some disappointing defeats in his walk with Christ. But in the midst of his sin and failures, he learned about God’s grace and forgiveness.  Toward the end of his life he reminded us of what he had learned:

” … If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” –– 1 John 1:9 (NLT)

What a truth and what a promise! This is a verse that brings me hope and comfort everyday. When I realize that I have missed the mark with God, disappointing Him, myself and others through my sinfulness, I lean on the assurance of God’s great forgiveness. You can too!

Have you messed up recently? Go to God and ask for His forgiveness. He’ll freely give it to you. And by the way, don’t forget to show God how much you appreciate His forgiveness of your sins by being quick to forgive the failures and foibles of others!

Pastor Dale