My Favorite BathDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
… as we also have forgiven our debtors.
Are you a forgiving person? How does a person become forgiving? Here’s one key. Jesus told his disciples, “The one who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47). There’s something about being forgiven that makes us a more forgiving person.
King David is exhibit number one in the Bible of the need for forgiveness. His father, Jesse, considered him the least likely of all his sons to succeed, but God had big things in mind for David. He became king over Israel and, along with Moses, one of its most influential leaders. But at the moment of his greatest success, David took a terrible fall. In short order, he committed adultery, murder, and deceit (2 Sam. 11). David would have gotten away with it, but the prophet Nathan learned of David’s crimes and laid out the whole ugly story before the king. David was stricken with guilt and grief.
He was desperate for forgiveness, and he cried out to the Lord,
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin …(Ps. 51:2)
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow … (Ps. 51:7)
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me … (Ps. 51:10)
“Wash me … purge me … cleanse me.” Sin has a way of making us feel soiled, stained, dirty, and smelly. When you’re filthy, there’s nothing quite like a bath.
Our first home was tiny—nine hundred square feet, three bedrooms, and one bath. With a fourth child on the way we were desperate for more space, so I set about to convert the garage to a family room. I bought a book on basic carpentry and remodeling and plunged in. The project included climbing into the attic and laying down pads of insulation. It was summer and hot. As I stuffed the pads of insulation through the opening into the attic crawl space, the material showered over my shirtless body. I started to itch. I hadn’t realized that the insulation was made of tiny fibers of glass. They stuck to my sweaty body and began to slice away at my flesh. At the same time I was inhaling these glass fibers, and they sent me into a fit of coughing. I tore off my clothes and threw myself into the shower. I scrubbed and scrubbed and sucked in the healing steam until I was clean! It’s still my favorite bath.
Forgiveness is like that. “Wash me … purge me … cleanse me.” When you’re clean, a transformation takes place. When you’re clean, you’re not so self-obsessed with your wounds and itches. When you’re clean, you smell better. You feel better. You can go back out in public. So take the bath that David took. Not a sponge bath but a full on drenching of amazing grace. Then for the rest of your life you will pray with greater intensity and urgency, “Father, forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When do you find it most difficult to forgive? Were you raised in a forgiving environment? How is it that you can know if you have been forgiven by another person? By God?
PRAYER: Merciful God, hear me as I pray your Psalms,
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my thoughts.
See if there is any wicked way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps. 139: 23-24)
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit. (Ps. 51:10-12)
Dave Peterson is an ordained pastor who is the Director of Community Outreach for The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation and Scholarly Advisor for the H. E. Butt Family Foundation. He is the author of Receiving and Giving, Unleashing the Bless Challenge in Your Life. Dave and his wife, Terri, have four adult children and four grandchildren. Send a note to Dave.
Is ambition positive, neutral, destructive, or fallen but redeemable? Does ambition interfere with Christian witness? What is the difference between being called and being driven? And why does it matter? Does it matter? Western culture values a strong work ethic, and we encourage our children and their children to strive and work toward success. Have we put our focus in the right place? Join us for the High Calling series that we’ve titled simply, Ambition.