Have Mercy, O Lord

Psalm 51:1-2, Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to Your abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!

Such should be our daily prayer. I adore this psalm, for in it we find the two parts of repentance: contrition—godly sorrow—for our sins, and faith—complete trust—in God’s mercy and steadfast love to forgive our sins. This is David’s plea before God after the prophet Nathan made known to him that he had sinned against God in his sin with Bathsheba. Every sin should drive us to such contrition! For every sin is offensive to God. Instead, we try to justify our sins because to call sin what it is offends man, and so we are filled with fear of men rather than fear of God! We capitulate to homosexuals, transgenders, pedophiles, fornicators, liars, the violent, and others because to call their idols what they are—sin and despicable to God—offends them. We fear their wrath in rejecting their idolatries more than we fear the wrath of God, who can destroy both body and soul in Hell (cf. Matthew 10:28). I cannot imagine anything more indicative of our moral dilapidation. Let us, rather, despair of our sins so deeply that we can do nothing but weep with contrite hearts and beg for God’s mercy. And so, according to His steadfast love and longsuffering patience, He sends His Spirit to cleanse us in Baptism and fills us with Himself, thus removing our grotesque iniquities.

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