Notice your breathing.
With each breath, become aware of the love with which God looks at you in this moment.
Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love! Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion! Wash me completely clean of my guilt; purify me from my sin! Because I know my wrongdoings, my sin is always right in front of me.
Researcher Brené Brown has found that there’s a big difference between the two uncomfortable feelings of shame and guilt. While shame destroys our sense of self-worth, guilt can be healthy and useful. It’s the negative feeling I get when something I do or fail to do doesn’t meet my values. It’s how I feel when I sin. It’s what the person who wrote this psalm is expressing. The psalmist is rushing toward God and crying out, “I know my wrongdoings. Have mercy on me, God!”
It reminds me of a time on the beach when I saw a toddler break something. He ran to his mother sobbing and buried his head in her lap. He wanted connection. He wanted forgiveness. He wanted everything to be wiped away. And he knew his mother loved him no matter what.
We can learn a lot from toddlers.
God’s like the most perfect parent ever. You can trust God to want to be close to you no matter what you’ve done, to take your guilt and offer forgiveness – never shame.
God, as I look back on the day, I can see things I did that I shouldn’t have done. I can also see things that I should have done but didn’t. I’m sorry. Please forgive me and help me to love. Amen.
Whenever you find yourself journeying through a wilderness,
struggling with temptation, with weakness,
fearful of the shadows in your heart,
remember the words of Paul:
“I’m convinced that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”