March 6, 2020

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. Psalm 139:14

When I think about confession and forgiveness, two things immediately come to my mind. First, the hardest forgiveness for me to feel is toward myself. When I have wronged someone or mishandled a situation, I will beat myself up for quite a while. Yet the words above, found in this beloved Psalm of David, tell me that being unable to forgive myself is yet another sin. God personally made me in God’s image. In God’s eyes, I am a masterpiece. The covenantal language of love used by God with all creation is a reminder that God’s grace is larger than any sin that I have committed. Usually, after a time of self-abuse, I remember this verse and immerse myself in its promises.

The other thing that comes to my mind is that, sometimes I have to pray to WANT to forgive before I can actually pray to forgive. After all, wallowing in self-pity or the anger of others’ wrongdoings TOWARD me or someone I love can bring a lot of satisfaction. Ultimately, the remembrance that God loves and forgives ME enables me to love and forgive others. I heard author Jon Guest once say, “When John wrote that God so loved the world, he meant that God loved the world ONE PERSON AT A TIME, enough to send his son to die for them.” If God’s love and forgiveness of me is that great, surely God can soften my heart and help me find a place of forgiveness as well.

Dear Lord, help me see myself and others through your eyes of grace. Amen.

Rev. Julie Schaaf

About the Contributor:
Rev. Julie Schaaf is a child of Foothills Presbytery, the pastor of Nazareth Presbyterian in Moore, where she has served for four years. She is also a recently published author of a book of Lenten sermons, More Than Chocolate. She and her husband Danny have two children and two beautiful grandsons.