“Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.” Psalm 51:1
Every believer struggles with sin because we still have a sin nature. So, how does God respond when we sin? The Lord isn’t like the gods of mythology, waiting to throw lightning bolts every time we mess up. But neither does He ignore it or weigh our faithfulness against our failure. The Lord graciously and compassionately confronts our sin.
A great example of this in Scripture is King David. Although he was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), he gave in to a momentary sinful desire. Lust escalated into adultery and murder, which he tried to cover up with lies and deceit. So, God confronted David with his sins (2 Samuel 12:9). David’s prayer of repentance, recorded in Psalm 51, helps us better understand God’s response to our own sin.
David was genuinely sorrowful after the confrontation. So, he called on the Lord’s grace, mercy, and lovingkindness. You see, God doesn’t bring sin to our attention to remind us of our failures but to call us to repentance. Although He has every right to condemn and punish sin, the Lord shows compassion.
That doesn’t mean the consequences of sinful choices just disappear. David’s family was forever affected by his actions. Yet, in God’s lovingkindness, David wasn’t crushed by the weight of his sin. Our gracious heavenly Father still demonstrates this incredible compassion. He forgives our sin completely, releasing us from its bondage and guilt.
Simply put, repentance is returning to the Lord by submitting to His authority. Refusing to repent allows pride and rebellion to establish a stronghold in our lives. These attitudes keep us distant from the only One who can actually help us. In other words, we cannot experience how loving, kind, and compassionate God truly is without genuine repentance.
On another occasion David prayed, “I am in great distress; please let me fall into the hand of the Lord, for His mercies are very great. But do not let me fall into the hand of man” (1 Chronicles 21:13). Notice that David’s confidence was not in finding mercy from others, but from the Lord. People can react harshly when our bad choices affect them, even after we ask for their forgiveness. Their response shouldn’t hinder us from calling upon God’s mercy and grace.
So, how does God respond when we sin? He compassionately calls us to repentance. What sin is He currently confronting in your life? He wants to release you from the pain that sin will inevitably bring. He’s waiting to show you His overwhelming grace, mercy, and love. Will you return to Him today?