“He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.” vs. 10
Israel’s justice system could be quite precise in laying out prescribed punishments for particular crimes…”an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” comes to mind. But the psalmist finds little consolation in that retributive prescription and says instead, that God operates by another standard. He says that God is merciful and gracious and does not repay us according to our iniquities, something for which we can all be grateful! He says that God loves us so much that our transgressions are removed from us, “as far as the east is from the west.” That’s a lot of love! It’s hard for us to really get our heads around that kind of forgiveness…it’s so different from what we practice in our society and culture. We just don’t like people to get away with anything, particularly when they’ve done wrong to us. We prefer punishment over mercy, and judging from our criminal justice system, even excessive punishment isn’t particularly troublesome. But that’s not how God is! According to the psalmist, God’s compassion is like that of a parent, and God’s anger quickly dissipates. This doesn’t give us a blank check to do as we please…we are always accountable for our words and actions…but we can trust that, no matter what we’ve done, God’s mercy is expansive and unlimited…which is probably the best news any of us will ever get!
Thought for the Day: Why do we say, “Revenge is sweet!”?