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Monday, October 24, 2016

Remember, rekindle, release

GRACIOUS Eternal One, remember Your compassion; rekindle Your concern and love, which have always been part of Your actions toward those who are Yours. Do not HOLD against me the sins I committed when I was young; instead, deal with me according to Your mercy and love.  Then Your goodness may be demonstrated in all the world,Eternal One. (Psalm 25:6-7 VOICE)

I am pretty certain I am not alone in saying that I want God to always and consistently remember his compassion toward me, to repeatedly show his concern and love toward me, and to never remember my sins, but cover them securely under his mercy and love. Daniel Goleman once penned, "True compassion means not only feeling another's pain, but also being moved to help relieve it." When we say we are counting on God's compassion in our lives to extend to us mercy and grace, keeping us free from the weights of guilt and shame, we are saying we are counting on God to being continually moved to help relieve the weight of our sin by placing it under the only thing which can actually bring "relief" - GRACE.

Our psalmist uses some pretty telling words:

He is counting on the "GRACIOUS" Eternal One to extend this mercy and grace. Mercy is sometimes seen as being "lenient" on sin. It is impossible for God to be lenient on evil or sin. He can, and does, place a covering over our sin which makes it no longer exist - the blood of Jesus is that covering. The GRACIOUS side of God is not one of leniency, but of deep-seated love for each of us he draws near. We might think of someone as "gracious" when they are kind toward us, but God's graciousness goes way beyond just being kind or courteous toward us - it embraces us, in all our filth, and undertakes the work of making us clean again.

He is also cognizant of the reality of love needing continual and focused renewal.  It isn't that God's love lessens over the span of the ages, but that the author of the psalm knows human love does. He knows we are the ones who need the reminding of how hot God's love is toward us - never dying out, never becoming smoldering ashes, but always ablaze with the heat of passionate love. When he asks for God to rekindle his concern and love, he is likely asking God to help him sense that concern and love - because he has grown a little cold himself in appreciating and luxuriating in that love.

Probably most telling about his prayer is this idea of asking God to not HOLD his sin against him - to harbor it, allowing it to taint his view of him. Mankind has a way of holding things against each other - kind of like storing stuff away for future "reference" anytime there is a repeated failure, or pattern of sinful action.  It is as though we have minds like steal traps when it comes to remembering the bad stuff and sieves when it comes to recalling the countless times God's mercy and grace poured over us in intense love and care. It is a sad, but true fact - we think God must "keep record of wrongs" we have done.  Look again at scripture for it declares our sin is erased - no longer to be remembered - no longer a thing we are identified by.

God sees our pain, and he moves to relieve it.  He sees our sin, and he moves to cover it.  He hears our grief, and he moves to pull us close to his heart so he can help us heal.  He sees the anxiety of our fear, and he moves to give us solid anchor and a reliable hold in life.  He knows our deepest and darkest secrets, and he moves to bring them into the light so he may remove those we shouldn't hold onto and answer those he yearns to fulfill.  God isn't deaf to our cries, nor is he blind to our needs. He is compassionate, kind, loving, grace-full, and mercy-full in all his actions toward those he calls his own. We just need to be reminded of that from time to time.  Just sayin!