Advent 2019 – A Journey Towards Forgiveness
Eternal One, public and open shame is our due, for we have sinned against You, all of us, our kings, princes, and ancestors. 9 But You, O Lord our God, still show us compassion and forgiveness even though we have openly rebelled against You. Daniel 9:8-9 (The Voice)
Day 5 – Compassion and Forgiveness
As a young college student, one of my leadership course requirements was to undergo a “Friends and Family assessment.” In essence, the assignment had me interact with those closest to me to see what kind of leader and person I was. I gathered several responses, but only remember one from the assignment. My mom’s perspective was, “Justin, you’re really good at speaking truth to people….but really bad at speaking it in love.”
I love speaking the truth. I also love justice…except that what I’ve discovered is that I’m only a fan of those when they favor me. My sense of justice and fairness is decidedly skewed in my favor.
Daniel, the author of this passage, makes no such pretenses. There’s no defending or justifying the sins of God’s people here. The only right option is an open and public shame. Yet that’s not the way God operates. Instead, even though shame would be completely warranted, chooses mercy and forgiveness.
We like choosing justice when it favors us. We love fairness when we get the long end of the stick. My kids practice great fairness as long as they get twice as much as anyone else. God, thankfully, doesn’t operate like that. Another writer, recounting a similar story even said, “but you are not like us.”
He is decidedly different. He is gracious and abounding in forgiveness and compassion. Even though he has every right to act with vengeance and justice, he chooses neither.
Advent’s waiting is a chance for us to practice a similar examination. There are those that have wronged us and those that we have wronged. We have even wronged our sense of right. But as God draws closer, we realize that this is just yet another act of compassion and forgiveness. For us. To us. On behalf of us.
May our waiting produce a similar heart of compassion.