Ready to Forgive

“Be gracious to me, O Lord, For to You I cry all day long. Make glad the soul of Your servant, For to You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, And abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.” (Psalm 86:3-5)

I’ve been thinking about Henry Ruggs the past few days and my own children and other young people that I care about. I don’t follow sports much these days so I won’t act like I know a lot about him or that I remember him when he played at Alabama. I don’t think I have to know much about him to feel sad about what has happened. He made it to the NFL and he signed a valuable rookie contract. No matter what happened after that, it would be fair to say that he had achieved great success.

Now all of that is over because he chose to get into a car and drive under the influence of alcohol. He will have to live with the consequences of breaking the law and also taking a life. The family of the one who died is in tremendous pain because of what he has done. Anyone with any shred of a conscience would be struggling with grief, guilt, and regret for a very long time. (You can read more about what happened here.)

And what about his soul? Will he turn to the Lord for redemption? Will there be people close to him who will encourage him to turn to Lord and help him to realize that he can be forgiven? I don’t know anything about Henry Ruggs, but I know this: the Lord still wants him, and he still wants you and me when we make a terrible mess of things. God is ready to forgive and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Him. Unfortunately, David could speak from experience on this point. David had taken another man’s wife and then compounded the problem by trying to hide it. In doing so, he ended up arranging for Bathsheba’s husband to be killed. Trying to hide what he had done only made things worse for David.

I say all of that to say this: if you commit the sin of getting drunk, don’t compound it by trying to drive yourself home. If you know me, call me. Call your parents. Call anyone that you can bring yourself to call. We may be upset at first, but by the time we get to where you are we will have had time to think about what the Lord wants, to remember that you can be forgiven, and we’ll be so happy that you didn’t try to drive yourself home.

Of course, for this to work those of us who may not be in the midst of a crisis have to remember that the Lord is ready to forgive and so we have to ready to forgive. We have to be ready to be used by the Lord to help a hurting soul turn back to Him. We have all had to confess shameful things to the Lord, even if we have been able to hide them from others. We say all the time, “If you need anything…” So, when someone needs something that we can help them with, be ready to do what we said we would do.

If you commit the sin of getting drunk, or any other sin for that matter, don’t make it worse by trying to hide it. It’s not even possible for you to hide it from the Lord. He is ready to forgive, whether you are young, or old, or great, or small.

If you are not a Christian, call on the Lord by being baptized: “Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.” (Acts 22:16)

If you have been baptized, repent and pray to the Lord for forgiveness and let your brethren pray for you as well: “‘Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.’ But Simon answered and said, ‘Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.’” (Acts 8:22-24)

God is ready to forgive and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Him.