Slow your breathing and become aware of the taking in and letting out of your breath. Focus on putting things aside so you will be open to what God is saying to you today.
Micah 7:18-20 (NRSV)
Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
and passing over the transgression
of the remnant of your possession?
He does not retain his anger forever,
because he delights in showing clemency.
He will again have compassion upon us;
he will tread our iniquities under foot.
You will cast all our sins
into the depths of the sea.
You will show faithfulness to Jacob
and unswerving loyalty to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our ancestors
from the days of old.
The prophet Micah, very much in the spirit of Exodus 34:1-9, reminds his audience that God is forgiving and compassionate. It is worth noting, however, that in both texts (Exodus 34 and Micah 7) the word of divine forgiveness follows a word of divine judgment. For Moses, it was the golden calf incident in Exodus 32. For Micah, it is the failure of the prophet (and God) to find a single good person left in the land (7:1-7). Forgiveness and failure are inevitably and intricately linked. Forgiveness is not the only word, but failure is not the final word.
Perhaps it is as hard to be a forgiven people as it is to be a forgiving people. To be forgiven means staring ourselves honestly (and not admiringly!) in the mirror. We see ourselves for who we are, and it is often not a pretty sight. All of the cosmetics and clothing we use to hide our failures are stripped away and we see the ugliness of our lives. That is tough to do. In fact, it is only by the grace of God that we can recognize who we are and who we might become.
We give you thanks that you are a forgiving and compassionate God. Grant us, your people, the good grace and strength to live faithfully as your forgiven people. Amen.
Go with God.