By Karen Schmauder
You have all probably heard this prayer before:
Dear Lord, So far today I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped, cursed, or lost my temper. I haven’t been greedy, grumpy, nasty, selfish or over indulgent.
I am really glad about these things. But, in a few minutes Lord,
I am going to get out of bed, and from then on,
I’m probably going to need a lot more help.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen
Every morning I wake up with the very best intentions. Today, I’m going to … and I rattle through my mental checklist of what tasks I want to accomplish. If it’s a work day, my “To Do” list is minimized on my computer – crossing off and adding. My “To Do” lists are the easy part of my day. These are the tangible items that require doing and accomplishing, and they create a great amount of satisfaction. I enjoy tackling tasks and embrace the challenges of new endeavors. When completed, I like checking “Done” beside each entry.
Then there are the not-so-easy parts of my day: The times when I don’t let the other car go first out of the parking lot, when I’m gruff with telephone solicitors, when I’m envious of our friends flying to Hawaii (that should have been us!), or that their adult child got the good job – the one with the high pay and benefits; I could go on and on with this kind of list (maybe I should go back to bed!). I have yelled or been mean or not been helpful or worse yet, have had not-so-nice thoughts. I don’t know how many times I mentally prepared myself for a difficult conversation, promising myself I would listen, stay calm, be diplomatic, etc., etc. And within three minutes, all that has gone out the window. Of course, afterwards, I feel awful. When things are calmer, and when it’s possible, I have gone back and apologized. I have asked for forgiveness. Sometimes, that is not so well received. It takes time for that person to accept apologizes and to offer forgiveness. Sometimes, that never happens at all. Friendships may be lost over hard words and feelings.
At the end of the day (and during it too) the one who is always there and who does forgive is God, if we only will turn to him. As Psalm 32 states, not only does God forgive us, he does not hold anything against us (wow, if only humans would do that). He does not punish us either. Also, if we turn to God for forgiveness, we will feel a lot better for it. Not only does God forgive our sins, he gives them to Jesus who carries them away. God sent his son to die for us, for our sins.
Dear God, it is so comforting to know that you are always here for us, willing to show us the way. It’s awesome that even when we come to you day after day with the same transgressions, you forgive us again and again, so that we may start each new day with a fresh, clean, “To Do” list. May we never turn away from you and never give up trying to follow your word in all we do. We pray this in the name of Jesus who gave his life for us. Amen.