Pleading for Forgiveness
Text: Matthew 6 : 1 - 18
The Book of Psalms has many wonderful texts that teach us how to plead for forgiveness. Let us look at some of these texts.
“Remember, O Lord, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses,
For they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions;
According to Your mercy remember me,
For Your goodness’ sake, O Lord.
For Your Name’s sake, O Lord,
Pardon my iniquity, for it is great.”
Psalm 25:6-7, 11
The psalmist David was conscious of his sinfulness. He did not attempt to make a plea for mitigation. Instead, he cried out to the Lord and pleaded along the following lines:-
1. Pleading the tender mercies of God.
2. Pleading the lovingkindnesses of the Lord.
3. Pleading the goodness of the Lord.
4. Pleading in the Name of the Lord.
Each of these phrases is full of deep and profound meaning. For our purposes, it suffices to say that the sinner may be assured that God will indeed be most merciful when He examines the heart of His truly penitent child.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER FORGIVENESS HAS BEEN OBTAINED?
Many seek forgiveness only to salve their conscience. When that happens, before too long, the sinner returns to his sinful ways. But was this intended by God? Surely not! Let us ponder what the psalmist cried out to God even as he sought His forgiveness.
“Show me Your ways, O Lord,
Teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
For You are the God of my salvation;
On You I wait all the day.”
The psalmist David was correct and wise to offer this prayer to the Lord. The truly repentant must desire to learn God’s ways to prevent sinning against the Lord indiscriminately.
In another psalm of David, we have recorded a special word from the Lord to him. God gave a promise that He will indeed teach and guide.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.”
What wonderful promises we have right here. Let us ponder over these words. Let us meditate upon these two promises.
“I will instruct you and teach you…”
“I will guide you with My eye…”
We will never be free from the problem of sin. However, we can be very glad that we would not sin as grievously if we were to listen to God’s instruction and pay heed to His guidance.
ONE SPECIAL LESSON JESUS WOULD HAVE HIS DISCIPLES LEARN
It is a precious thing to know the forgiveness of God. Any one who has received forgiveness will understand why it is often associated with great joy.
“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous;
And shout for joy, all you upright in heart!”
Yes, there is great relief and that expresses itself well in shouts of joy! However there was something else that Jesus wanted His disciples to learn particularly.
“As we forgive our debtors”
It is one thing to ask for forgiveness. It is another thing to grant forgiveness to people who have wronged us. It all sounds so simple! If we have been forgiven of much, we should be able to forgive others easily. However, this is not so straightforward a case at all in real life.
Sins against God may indeed be called “debts”. We become “debtors” when we keep sinning against Him. Our many sins would make us great debtors. The only way out is to seek His pardon! As we are pardoned from our sins, Jesus wants us to practise being able to forgive those who have sinned against us. Can we practise forgiving our debtors?