“You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19).

reflect

I have an affinity for pencils.

A phalanx of freshly sharpened pencils makes me happy.

I love the faint smell of cedar and the soft whisper of pencil lead as it glides across a page.

I know ballpoint pens are all the rage these days, but give me a pencil any day—as long as it is one of my approved brands. I only write with luxury 50-cent pencils.

And sometimes I even write upside down. You can’t do that with a pen. And if I make a mistake, I erase it. You can’t do that with a pen either.

And who doesn’t enjoy sharpening a pencil? That’s always fun.

The one downside of using a pencil is that the eraser seems to leave behind a trace of lead. If you erase the same spot too many times, the paper turns black and eventually starts to tear.

I’m thankful that God’s grace and forgiveness isn’t like a pencil eraser. When God forgives us, He removes all vestiges of our sins.

Isaiah 1:18 says, “‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’”

We all are sinners, but God makes our dirty, polluted hearts white as snow.

First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Though Christ has forgiven us, many of us carry guilt over things we did in the past. The vestige of sin remains in our memories.

But God has forgotten our sins, so we should forget them, too.

Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Or maybe we struggle with a sin and have had to ask for forgiveness multiple times. We feel like a piece of paper that has become gray from being erased multiple times.

God’s grace is not a free pass to continue in a cycle of sin, but He will forgive us if we ask.

“‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more’” (Hebrews 8:12).

When we repent, we must work to change our present course and to pursue righteousness with the help of the Holy Spirit.

“Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart” (2 Timothy 2:22).

react

>Is there something in your past that causes you to feel guilty? What can you do to forget?

>What sin do you struggle with and what can you do to work to overcome it?