Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Psalm 19:12 brings up a universal problem we face in faith and practice. How do we become aware of our wrongdoing? Those unintentional sins? After all, there are probably many things in our lives that, if we were aware of them, we would make an attempt at change. Or at least we would be repentant and spend time asking God for forgiveness. How have I offended God? How have I wronged other people? Probably in many ways that I am not aware of.
The Psalmist asks for forgiveness in a blanket way here. Likewise, when we pray the Lord’s prayer, we ask forgiveness for our transgressions. We don’t even try to name them all. There are certainly some which we have but wouldn’t be able to list.
The reformer, Martin Luther, early in his adult life was so concerned about his sin that he spent a great deal of time with his confessor every day. Eventually, when he realized that God’s grace was for him, that the work of Jesus to forgive sin included the sins he was aware of and those he was not aware of, he found liberty. Not freedom to sin, but freedom to trust that the Lord would forgive his sins, even those that he was not aware of, those which nobody brought to his attention.
Have we been inconsiderate of someone? Have we lived in such a way as to inconvenience another person? Possibly a decision we made contrituted to someone’s hardship somewhere. Have we lived as though God doesn’t matter, in one way or another? Have we misinterpreted God’s will in any way through ignorance or inattention? Here the Psalmist asks the Lord to grant forgiveness anyway. And, for that matter, he asks the Lord to guard him from willful sins as well. Sometimes the Lord brings those hidden sins to our attention and we can then take action to avoid them purposely. Regardless, we are able to live in the grace and mercy of God, who truly forgives us and cleanses us from unrighteousness.
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