Links Daily Devotional

Thankful for Forgiveness

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. (Psalm 32:1)

While watching the coverage of The Presidents Cup last weekend, I was reminded of one of the most important things in team golf—forgiveness. Any of us who’ve played with a partner knows how important it is to hear two big words from your partner after missing a short putt to win or tie a hole, “It’s okay.” You don’t want to look up and see your opponents grinning from ear to ear and then see the back of your partner’s head as he or she is walking to the next hole in disgust. Instead, you want a pat on the back and some verbal affirmation that goes more like, “Tough break, we’ll get ’em next hole.”

We can either have our confidence restored and built back up by our partner or we can have it more torn down. I remember playing in a match one time where I felt greater fear of the wrath of my partner than I did the golf course or my opponent. Needless to say, that made for a very tough round of golf!

I don’t think it’s too great a stretch for us to take this feeling that we all can identify with on the golf course to our spiritual lives. If we allow our sin and shortcomings to beat us down, then it makes it much harder to continue to move forward. We can even wallow in our sin and allow our mistakes to consume us.

However, we are reminded in Psalm 32 by David, a man who committed murder and adultery, that we are not just to be forgiven, but better—“blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven.” Wow, what an awesome understanding of our Heavenly Father! David knew that he could move forward from such great sin, claiming victory in a God who not only offers forgiveness, but is forgiveness. It is the understanding of the forgiveness of our sins that draws us closer to God (Romans 2:4), not our ability to be good or better than most.

Growing up, I was a pretty obedient and rule-following young man. I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior as a child, but frankly, I did not look at Him near as much for forgiveness in His role as Savior as I did His Lordship, because my behavior was better than most around me. Forget the fact that I was still way short of holiness and godliness. I was a “good Christian” by most people’s standards, so I did not focus much on my need for grace and forgiveness. When I did fall short, I tended to beat myself up and almost wanted to hide from God. It was not until later in life and after realizing that I am a professional sinner that I have embraced the blessedness of God’s forgiveness.

Yes, God wants us to obey His commands and remove the sin from our lives, but frankly, none of us can impress God with our good living; it sure won’t get us a ticket into heaven. So as I’ve matured in my faith and better recognize the areas of my life that still need improvement and fall short of perfection, I’ve begun to embrace what David understood and communicated in Psalm 32, “Blessed is the one whose sins are covered.”

In this season of Thanksgiving, where we often focus our gratitude on our many physical blessings, let’s not overlook possibly the greatest blessing of all: God’s never-ending grace and forgiveness.

Josh Nelson

November 23, 2011

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The Links Daily Devotional appears Monday through Friday at www.linksplayers.com.