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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Create In Me A Clean Heart

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  August 1, 2019 --

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (from Psalm 51)

It has been said that one can find in the Psalms a reflection of every human emotion and need. Frequent reading of the Psalms allows one to recall certain passages when they are appropriate to a situation. Psalm 51 is devoted to asking God to cleanse us from sin, to forgive our sins, and lastly to allow us to accept that forgiveness by cleansing our hearts of the scars that sinning has left in us. As we should all know, God is ever willing and anxious to forgive our sins if we ask and truly repent of them. But it is a human weakness that we have trouble accepting that we are forgiven.

There are three ways we can go wrong when it comes to matters of forgiveness. All three can poison the heart. First is not forgiving others; second is not asking God to be forgiven, when he is always willing to do so; and third is not truly accepting that we have been forgiven. This is a problem more common than perhaps you realize. I know people who are still burdened with the guilt of things they did many years ago, and cannot accept that God has forgiven them, even though they have prayed for forgiveness. I don’t know why this is so difficult, but it is. I, myself, have occasionally had difficulty with the same problem. God has forgiven me; why can’t I forgive myself? Reciting to myself the above section from Psalm 51 as a sort of prayer has been of help at those times.

One other thing that may ease guilt is to carry out some action which compensates for the wrong things that you may have done. The possibilities here are endless and I leave it up to your own imagination, but often we feel less guilty if we can do some good, either for those we might have hurt or for others who need help of some sort. Remember that such actions are not an attempt to “buy” forgiveness; God has already forgiven you. Rather consider it to be a Thank Offering for God’s mercy and love.



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