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Psalm 32

The Joy of Forgiveness Of David. A Maskil.

1 Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Happy are those to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.

3 While I kept silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up[a] as by the heat of summer. Selah

5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah

6 Therefore let all who are faithful offer prayer to you; at a time of distress,[b] the rush of mighty waters shall not reach them. 7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with glad cries of deliverance. Selah

8 I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 9 Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.

10 Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord. 11 Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

There is a tradition we have in our family, and I imagine you do too. It is the keeping track tradition.

Someone sends me a birthday card. Better send them one back.

We were invited to their house for dinner. Now we have to invite them to ours.

Who treated last time for dinner out?

In accounting, we call this reconciliation. A bank reconciliation is making sure the numbers balance out. How much do we say we have? How much does the bank say we have? Figure out the differences and come to a balance.

We keep track.

Are you keeping track?

Jesus speaks of forgiveness not as keeping track but forgiving and letting go of records.

For when God forgives us, as one person said, its like God throws our sins into the sea and posts a sign that says “No Fishing!”

We come before God each week in worship and ask God to forgive us of the things we have done and left undone. We place them before God. And we are told that we are forgiven. We are told that God isn’t keeping track.

So why are we?

How often do we leave worship and pick up that load that has been forgiven and carry it another week, or month, or…

Another story told by Tony Campolo at the ELCA Youth Gathering in Dallas in 1991. As I remember it, Campolo said that his image of heaven is we are taken to a large theater and seated in the front row. On the screen in front of us will be a movie of everything we had done wrong, and the things that we failed to do…

The theater is empty

Except for your mother – seated next to you…

But here is the good news. Because of Jesus Christ, the tape has been erased. (ask your parents about Richard Nixon’s secretary!).

God has erased the tape.

Sins are forgiven and forgotten.

As we have been forgiven, may we so forgive (I think there’s something in the Lord’s Prayer about this!)

God stopped keeping track. May we do the same.

Let us pray: Lord, forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Help us to accept the gift of your forgiveness and live in the good news that we are your beloved. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen

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