There is this tension between forgiveness and the consequences of sin.
Lord our God, you answered them.
To them you were a God who forgives
but also the one who avenged their wrong deeds. Psalm 99:8 CEB
Life can be so confusing. When I sit and listen to an unfaithful spouse ask his or her beloved to forgive them their trespasses, I am deeply saddened when the request is paired with implied blame. “I know I messed up; I sinned against God and you; but you have to understand….if you had been a better spouse…a more fun spouse…a more whatever spouse…this wouldn’t have happened.”
On days like this, I wonder if God weeps. I certainly do. I weep at the sadness of the giving-and-taking-away of amends making.
When the Israelites were trying to make sense out of forgiveness and recompense for wrongdoing, they tended to lament and wail and gnash teeth AND return to the core beliefs that they held about God. They remember who God IS and WILL BE. They hope for a future where both consequences and forgiveness converge and make for healing and restoration. They also feel the freedom to be honest about their experience with God. I love the intimacy that implies – no matter where they are spiritually, they have a relationship that allows for dialogue, questioning, and even some complaining.
I cry out loud to God—
out loud to God so that he can hear me!
2 During the day when I’m in trouble I look for my Lord.
At night my hands are still outstretched and don’t grow numb;
my whole being[a] refuses to be comforted.
3 I remember God and I moan.
I complain, and my spirit grows tired. Selah Psalm 77:1-3 CEB
Today, practice honesty with God – take a few minutes and talk to him about how you’re experiencing your relationship with him.