“Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. Forgive me for anything I have done throughout the day that has been unpleasing to Thy holy eyes…” and so has begun my bedtime prayers since I was a little girl. Of course, I never really focused on what I did that needed God’s forgiveness; it was an all inclusive prayer. After all, I had not violated the seven deadly sins or the Ten Commandments or had I?
I realize I sometimes still use it that way, not looking deeply into my soul to see where I might truly need forgiveness. My conscience makes me aware of one word which usually gets added to my prayers at night – I ask God for patience. When I find I am not patient, I notice that I get momentarily angry with a person or incident. Afterwards, I am aware and apologize, but do I really forgive? Reading the seven deadly sins, I found the opposite of wrath (anger) is patience or forgiveness. Through self-examination I became aware as I prayed and asked God for patience, and so unknowingly asked for His forgiveness and my need to forgive the person who made me angry.
I realize I must delve into my soul to see where those transgressions are tucked away and acknowledge them as David did. Psalm 51:1 “Have mercy upon me, Oh God, according to thy loving kindness: according to the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.” Only then am I able to search deeper, with God’s help, to see what else I have buried within my soul that needs forgiveness, for only then can I forgive others.
Psalms 139:23-24 ”Search me, oh God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting,” Amen.
Friends and members of our Christ Church family have prepared these daily reflections as a means for you to consider how forgiveness informs your faith walk during this holy season. They are a richly diverse group from many different geographies around our nation and globe, formed by a wide variety of traditions.