By Sylvia Stewart
Today's Scripture: Psalm 31:17a
Central Thought: Incomplete repentance produces incomplete Christians.
In Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe wrote, 'How irrational human nature is. . . . [We] are not ashamed to sin and yet [we] are ashamed to repent. . . . ashamed of the very returning which alone can make [us] truly wise men”—and women, we might add.
Ezra threw himself to the ground in anguish before the house of God, confessing and weeping over the sins of the returned exiles. Do I take on the sins of my family, friends and church members, expressing my remorse for their sin?
David cried, '. . . I have cried out to you” (31:17a). 'Have mercy on me, O God . . . wash away all my iniquity . . .”(51:1–2).
All of us are tempted to distance ourselves from those who have sinned. Why? People who have sinned are hurting people. Ezra was not ashamed to be identified with sinners, as though he had done the sinning himself.
An old-fashioned preacher once said, 'Jesus must be Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.” Those who repent invite the lordship of Christ to rule over the sinful situation.
Devotional Prayer: Forgive me today, Jesus, Lord of weak and failing people. Help me to weep in anguish with my friends who have failed You. Make me clean so my praise will be acceptable to You.
Today's Bible Reading: Ezra 10:1–44; I Corinthians 6:1–20; Psalm 31:9–18; Proverbs 21:3