Micah 7:14-15, 18-20;Psalm 85:2-8; Matthew 12:46-50
“Who is there like you, the God who removes guilt and pardons sin?” (Micah 7:18)
How eloquently the prophet Micah proclaims God’s mercy for sin-ridden Israel! He paints a picture of a Creator who doesn’t “persist in anger forever, but delights rather in clemency, and will again have compassion on us, treading underfoot our guilt.” Unlike the gods of the Canaanites around them, Micah proclaims a God who “will cast into the depths of the sea all our sins” (Micah 7:18-19).
And to add to the image, today’s responsorial psalm describes the way God compassionately pardons sinners: “You forgave the guilt of your people, pardoned all their sin” (Psalm 85:3).
Sinners that we are, we need to know that God does not dole out his mercy based on what we deserve but on his nature: “God, who is rich in mercy … brought us to life with Christ… . For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8).
Yet as marvelous as these truths are, many of us struggle to believe this. We feel that our sins are too numerous or terrible. We doubt that God could ever forgive us. We think that we’re unworthy of his love. Or perhaps we know that we have been forgiven, but we just can’t let go of the memory of what we have done. Burdened by guilt and shame, we replay it over and over in our thoughts.
If this describes you in any way, take up the word of God as your way to freedom: God “casts behind his back” all our sins (Isaiah 38:17). He “wipes them out” (43:25). He “remembers their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). Imagine, too, the lines that a fourteenth-century English mystic scrawled in the margin of a manuscript he was copying: He abides patiently, he understands mercifully, he forgives easily, he forgets utterly.
Our sins don’t live on in God’s memory, so don’t let them stay in yours! Let them go!
“Lord, you are merciful and gracious, abounding in kindness. You do not deal with us as our sins merit or as our deeds deserve… . As far as the east is from the west, so far have you removed our sins from us.” (Psalm 103:8-12)~wau