The Lord has been speaking to me in Psalm 51 for the last few months. Snippets of it come to mind and are uttered from my mouth when I pray everyday. I know the Lord is bringing it to my heart to teach me of His love and forgiveness. For my whole life I have doubted the His love and forgiveness, even as I walked in faith to believe those promises. Honestly, I’m amazed that such a dichotomy of thinking could be found in my heart, and yet I know very well that it is true.
I doubted God’s love because of shame in my own heart for my sins. Because of the bad decisions of my past, because of the sin I committed against the Lord, and continue to commit against the Lord each day, I thought there was no way that God could possibly even want to forgive me. I’d think, “No way. Not this time. This time was bad. God hates sin. He surely hates me. I hate me.”
But thankfully, that’s not how God works at all. While I would try to tell myself this, and try desperately to trust in the forgiveness of God, I couldn’t marry God’s hate of sin to my own iniquity. As I keep learning, however, God is not willing to leave us in dark places, or in lies of the enemy, if we are willing and earnestly seeking Him and longing to know His truth. That’s where the marriage between doubt and hope really come together.
I doubted my own ability to be forgiven. I hated myself for my sin, and so I couldn’t think of anyone else not hating me as well. Yet, over and over again, the Lord would speak into my heart that I am forgiven.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
6 Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
He knows that I was brought forth into the world full of the potential for great sin. And He is willing to teach me the wisdom of trusting Him in my heart regardless of past, regardless of my circumstances, regardless of my sin.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
He will and has made me clean! By the blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, I have been purged and made clean in the eyes of God. I am whiter than snow to Him now, because I have freely accepted His ability to cleanse me and forgive me. Again, this is where hope comes in. I hope in the promise that God’s salvation is truly mine to receive. And the Lord builds my faith to continue to trust Him regardless of the lies the enemy tells me about how evil I am. God knows I my heart is evil. And only He can forgive me.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.
When I ask Him, it is His delight to receive and honor my request to be cleansed and forgiven and brought into His Presence. He can daily restore in me the JOY of His salvation given to me with love. Only then can I see that He truly does love me. He truly does cleanse me. He truly does forgive me. And because of that, I can move forward, not only in confidence of His forgiveness but also with the experience and faith to share this Good News with others!
Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you,
14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Sounds like a pretty solid plan. I think I’ll take it.