God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.—Psalm 51:10
What is the biggest problem we face? Some would say ill health; others, lack of money; still others, uncertainty about the future or fear of dying. My own view is that the biggest problem with which human beings have to grapple is the problem of guilt. It is the most powerfully destructive force in the personality. We cannot live with guilt—that is, truly live.
When I was a young Christian, I heard some great preaching in my native Wales, most of which focused on how God was able to release us from the guilt of inbred sin. Nowadays, apart from a few exceptions, that message is hardly heard in the pulpits of the Principality, nor for that matter in many other pulpits. The emphasis ceased to appeal to the modern mind and so was discarded. However, it is now coming back to us through the science of psychology. Someone said that the point at which psychology and religion meet is at the point of guilt. Christianity and the social sciences underline what the human heart knows so well: it cannot live comfortably with guilt.
In this simple prayer of Jesus, however, we have an adequate answer: “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” If we have fully accepted the forgiveness of God and we know that our sins have been forgiven, then the result is a pervading sense of peace. The human heart cannot be put off by subterfuge; it needs reconciliation, forgiveness, and assurance.
O God, my Father, I see that within the ways of men, You have a way—a way that is written into the nature of reality. And that way is the way of forgiveness. May I ever walk in it. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Jn 8:1-11; Ps 40:12; 38:4; 73:21
What made the Pharisees leave?
How did Jesus respond to the woman?