Have you ever felt like you were certainly in the fire? Things in life may have gone from bad to worse. When we’re in those times of life, sometimes we know that the reason for it is that we have sinned. Now I’m not talking about when people in your life are sick or anything like that, God doesn’t punish sin by unleashing evil on us. Maybe it’s more like when relationships have gone bad, or things have gone wrong at work, or there’s financial hardship. You know the feeling, things are just piling up and you have no idea how to get out, it’s getting hotter all the time and it seems there is no salvation. But deep at the heart of it, you feel the weight of your own sin. I can testify to being in that place myself in my life on occasion. To that, the young man Azariah speaks:
For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation,
brought low everywhere in the world this day
because of our sins.
But with contrite heart and humble spirit
let us be received;
As though it were burnt offerings of rams and bullocks,
or thousands of fat lambs,
So let our sacrifice be in your presence today
as we follow you unreservedly;
for those who trust in you cannot be put to shame.
We have to be a forgiven and forgiving people. When life crashes in on us, we have to confess our sins, and cry out for God’s pardon and mercy. And when it is given us – and it will be given us – we must become a merciful people who extend forgiveness to every single person in our lives without hesitation. We have to be a people who throw mercy around freely, because that’s how it’s been given to each of us.