“Please forgive me.” I’ve said this so often lately, I considered having it printed on a T-shirt, just to save time.
Wait. I could have several shirts made, one for every occasion.
- Please forgive me for being pushy.
- Please forgive me for being late.
- Please forgive me for being busy.
- Please forgive me for being me.
That’s the starter set, of course. The list of things I’ve done wrong is so long, those please-forgive-me T-shirts could fill a Hollywood walk-in closet.
And I’m not talking about my before-I-knew-the-Lord years, with all those flashy, splashy sins. Oh, no. I’m talking about this week, with promises I’ve forgotten, deadlines I’ve missed, unkind words I wish I’d never said, and thoughts that don’t qualify as true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or even remotely praiseworthy.
If you get this, please raise your hand. I desperately need to know I’m not alone.
The psalmist nailed it: “If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3). Honestly? None of us could stand. Not one.
Then comes the next verse. The good news.
“But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you” (Psalm 130:4). How like the Lord, to remind of us our sins, then offer a remedy for them in the same breath.
When we ask a friend to forgive us, what are we really saying?
- I am truly sorry for what I did.
- I wish I could undo my mistake, but I can’t.
- I pray this won’t affect our relationship, which I deeply value.
- I need your forgiveness in order to let go of my guilt.
Now imagine saying all those things to the Lord, knowing He listens, understands, and forgives. These are the truths He wants to hear from us. Not excuses, not blame-shifting, but “I am sorry. Please forgive me.” It really is that simple—or that difficult, if we still think goodness comes from our efforts, and aren’t willing to own our willful disobedience.
In a court of law, the jury is often more lenient if the accused shows genuine remorse, sorrow, or regret. I believe that’s what God wants from us too.
David shows us the way: “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). Our brokenness, our humility pleases the heart of God. It means we’ve accepted the reality that we cannot manage on our own. As Kim recently shared online, “Without forgiveness where are we? Just sinners with no hope.” So right.
Yet with Jesus, we have eternal hope.
Tamara says, “His forgiveness always gives us a second (and third and fourth) chance to get it right.” Maybe that’s your testimony as well, beloved.
Carolyn admits, “Although I turned my back on Him for a period of years, He never stopped loving me and welcomed me back into the fold with open arms.” Jennifer, too, celebrates “His capacity for forgiveness and his willingness to lavish it on me!”
Believers have been shouting out the power of His forgiveness since day one. “Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you” (Acts 13:38).
Having been proclaimed, now it needs to be claimed: His forgiveness is meant for you.
Heavenly Father, our sin is ever before us. Give us the strength to not only ask for your forgiveness, but also receive it. Wash us clean. Make us whole. Send us out with Your praise on our lips: “This is the God who forgives!”
What do you need forgiveness for this week? Might you put it into words, so He can lift that burden off your heart and place it in His hands?
Your sister, Liz