Penitence

Scripture Reading — Psalm 51:1-12

I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Psalm 51:3 — 

The way to heaven begins with salvation. The way to salvation begins with forgiveness. The way to forgiveness begins with repentance. And repentance always
begins inside us with penitence—feeling sorry for our sins. The whole process begins inside.

We’ve all said words of repentance and apology. When we were children, we learned we had to apologize if we hurt others or did something wrong—and
we’d say the words, though a little hesitantly. We’ve even said apologies to God—and sometimes without really meaning it. Saying the words isn’t what counts.
What really matters is having a state of penitence deep down in our hearts, where only God can see.

David had inner penitence when he prayed the prayer of Psalm 51. He called for God’s mercy because of his terrible sins of adultery, lying, and murder (see
2 Samuel 11-12). It was a big step for David to say these words, and he finally said them only after being confronted by a prophet of God. What makes these words count is that, deep inside, David was honest about all his sin. He admitted the seriousness of his sin. He saw it clearly. He was frightfully conscious of it. He agreed with God about how serious sin is.


Inner honesty like that is wrenching, but healthy! It leads to pardon!

Prayer

Lord, sometimes I find it so hard to be honest about my sins. My heart resists being penitent. Help me to see myself as you do, and then cleanse me for Jesus’ sake. Amen

 

Devotion topics: Christianity, Discipleship