April 13, 2015

Psalm 41:4 I said, “O Lord, have mercy on me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you.”

In English, at least the way the NIV renders it, this doesn’t make much sense. It would seem like David having committed sin would be a reason for the Lord not to heal him! However, the Japanese specifies, “heal my soul.” Our souls get scuffed up, dirtied up by sin, and healing/cleansing are part of the same package. That way, this falls into line with 1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9) It makes no sense to ask for God’s mercy without acknowledging that we don’t deserve it. That’s the whole meaning of grace, as gets pointed out again and again. The key to it all is repentance, which is the recognition of being wrong and the desire, the decision, to change. It’s no use being like Alfred Doolittle in My Fair Lady, who said, “I’m undeserving, and I mean to go on being undeserving.” That’s not repentance!

I’ve had my own struggles with repentance over the years, and as a pastor I tangle with the issue all the time. People get themselves into fixes and want God to get them out, without acknowledging that they were wrong in the first place. That doesn’t work! Enabling bad behavior isn’t the path of love. I am to speak the truth in love, (Ephesians 4:15) but failing to speak the truth is not love. I must not let a fear of being disliked get in the way of expressing God’s love, righteousness and holiness. I am very aware of my own imperfections and my own checkered past, but I must not let that get in the way of my expressing God’s standards, His purity, even when I don’t measure up myself. As I keep being reminded, I’ve got to listen to my own sermons! God is faithful to speak through me, and I had better pay attention.

Father, Thank You for this reminder. Thank You also for reminding me that I’m to start working on that book this morning. Thank You for the rain, to keep me from being as distracted by other activities. There’s still plenty that could distract me; help me stay focused. Thank You for yesterday and all it held. Thank You for all of Your plans for today. May I flow with Your Spirit in every detail, accomplishing Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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