February 15, 2012

Guilt and Grace

Psalm 32

I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Psalm 32:5


I wandered into the courtyard of a Buddhist temple outside Tokyo and was stunned by the sight of hundreds of small statues of the Buddha lining the sidewalks. Was this deep devotion to the Buddha?

Our Japanese ministry leader explained to me that the statues were left by women who had had abortions. They had brought the statues in the hope of atoning for their decisions to abort. That sobered me. It reminded me that a moral compass is embedded within everyone’s heart. And when we do not chart our lives by that compass, we feel genuine guilt.

David spoke to that reality in Psalm 32. He had made a total mess of his life. His moral failures included adultery and murder. David acknowledged that when we mess up, we are eaten up inside if we keep quiet. Like the women who brought their statutes to the temple, David had an inner urge to confess his sin.

David confessed his sin to the Lord. Yes, there were people in his life with whom David needed to come clean. But only God could grant the full pardon his soul craved. When we mess up, our guilt is first of all toward our Creator, whose law we have violated.

How do you find real forgiveness? Not by way of an offering at a Buddhist temple. Confess to God—and he will forgive the guilt of your sin.

Lord, we can’t cover our sins, but by the blood of Christ you can. Bless us with the grace of your forgiveness and wash us clean. Amen.

About the author — Bob Heerspink

Dr. Robert Heerspink was director of Back to God Ministries International from 2006 until 2011, when he passed away. He had previously pastored several Christian Reformed churches. Bob loved to write and was a frequent contributor to the Today devotional.

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