Ask God to bring to your mind someone from whom you need to ask forgiveness or whom you need to forgive.
Read Psalm 51:1-19
 For the director of music. A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.  Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.  Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.  Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.  Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.  Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.  Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.  You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.  May it please you to prosper Zion, to build up the walls of Jerusalem.  Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous, in burnt offerings offered whole; then bulls will be offered on your altar. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow would you outline or list the elements of this prayer?
Not long ago the newspapers in Great Britain were full of a celebrity sportsman who had racially abused an opponent, but was not prepared to apologize. Eventually, under pressure, he apologized for causing any offense—which was no apology at all. Consequently, the issue rumbled on for weeks. In this famous psalm, King David, after his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband (2 Samuel 11), says he’s sorry. It’s not a general apology, such as: “Soldiers do get killed,” or “Bathsheba flaunted herself.” It was a genuine taking of responsibility: “My sin is always before me” (3). This is true repentance. There are times when we also need to say we’re sorry. If we refuse, the hurt will spread like a cancer. But when true repentance is expressed, amazing things happen. First, there’s the joy of knowing that God forgives us (12); then there’s a desire to share that liberating experience with others (13) which, in turn, leads us to praise God for his faithfulness (14b,15). And once we have experienced God’s forgiveness, the way is open for reconciliation with those we have wronged. The hardest word, we sometimes tell our children, is “sorry.” But what a relief, and release, it is when we say it.
If you’ve have wronged someone, say you’re sorry today. And if that’s no longer possible, know you can still be forgiven.
Merciful Lord, how grateful I am for Your great and constant forgiveness. May I treat others the same way.
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