Asking for forgiveness is hard.
It means realizing that you’ve hurt someone. It means accepting responsibility.
Asking for forgiveness is also deeply intimate.
It means acknowledging that the relationship you have with someone is close enough that you can hurt them. It means being vulnerable.
As far as east is from west— that’s how far God has removed our sin from us.
Like a parent feels compassion for their children— that’s how the Lord feels compassion for those who honor him.
In these verses, we read that God takes our sin and moves it as far away from us as possible. How? Why? Compassion.
What is compassion actually? This is a word with a meaning that has dulled over time. It comes from the Latin compati, meaning to suffer with. This Psalm speaks of God having compassion like a parent with their children. Parents suffer with and for their children, whether children know or understand it or not: parents struggle through sleepless nights when children are sick, they feel the hurt when a child is struggling in school or with relationships. And like a parent, God is with us in all of our suffering, feeling that pain and being in it with us.
God knows that when we have transgressed, when we have acted in a way that requires forgiveness, we suffer. And God is there with us, helping to remove that transgression. We utter the words: “Forgive me!,” and God does.
God, thank you for being there when I suffer, for answering my call for forgiveness when I cry out. Give me also the gift of compassion, that I may see the suffering of others when they come to me for forgiveness, and I may grant it. Amen.
Each day is a new chance to act with compassion and offer forgiveness.
May your eyes, ears, and heart be opened to the new beginnings forgiveness can offer, for the forgiver and the forgiven.