Signposts: Daily Devotions

Saturday, January 31

Happy are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sin is put away! Happy are they to whom the Lord imputes no guilt, and in whose spirit there is no guile!
—Psalm 32:1-2

I don’t know about you, but to me the word happy is not strong enough when it comes to talking about forgiveness of sins. I have nothing against the word in general. I am “happy” to give someone good wishes on their birthday, most particularly my grandchildren. But perhaps joyful or blessed would be better word choices in expressing the psalmist’s feelings.

In French, one word related to happy is debonnaire. “Debonair are those whose transgressions are forgiven.” That sounds different, doesn’t it? And maybe that is a good approach. I think of debonair as meaning “lightness of being” or “blessedly relieved.”

Whatever the word should be, we are indeed joyful, blessed—even debonair—when we know that our sins are forgiven. The first step, of course, is to face and admit them. The second step is to seek forgiveness. Our God stands ready to receive us.

In fact, like the father of the Prodigal Son, God runs to meet and welcome us. Debonair describes so well how I envision that wayward prodigal son. He knew the depths of sin and the pain of separation from the father, who loved him unconditionally nonetheless. The son also knew the joy of being home again, forgiven and restored.

Thank you, gracious God, for your steadfast love. Help us to admit our faults and ask for forgiveness, from you and from those we have harmed. And then, dear God, help us to celebrate our own homecoming. Amen.