Reading: Psalm 85
The psalmist expresses a cycle that is common to us all. The people of Israel sinned and found God’s forgiveness. Time passed and they sinned again. The writer expresses the need for God to forgive the people once again. The psalmist calls for God’s unfailing love to once again yield mercy and grace. The writer reminds themselves and God that God promises peace to His people. The the writer again requests salvation from God.
It is a cycle we often repeat as well. Earlier in one’s Christian walk, the cycle is repeated more often but throughout life we cycle through the sin-repentance-forgiveness pattern over and over. Being human, frail and weak as we are, we will fall into sin. Yet God, being unfailing love and unending grace, responds over and over again with forgiveness and an invitation back into right relationship with Him.
As we look back over our journey of faith we can identify times when we came to realize that we had been sinning. It was not obvious to us before we reached a certain maturity level in our faith. As we continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ we come to junctures where we realize that what we were doing was really gossip or being jealous or lust or … What was before simply part of who we are is one day seen as sin. So we repent and think ‘not again’ as we are now aware that a certain behavior was sinful. But like most sins, this one will return again. Satan knows our weak spots and will continue to hammer away at them for a while.
As we mature in our faith and our relationship with Christ grows stronger, the time between recurrences of a sin will lengthen out. And being fully human, we know that we may fall back into that sin once in a while. But as we do mature, we recognize it sooner and come to a place where we stop at the temptation to gossip or whatever. And then we begin to wrestle with other sins in our lives!
Into our constant battle with sin, into our human weakness, steps God’s love and grace. God’s love and grace are far greater than our sin will ever be. It is so great that nothing in all of creation is able to separate us from the love of God. May we ever be thankful for God’s unfailing love and unending grace that always restores a sinner like me back to the true and loving relationship that is life itself.