For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. Psalm 25:11
Maybe it was just my self-centered perspective, but I'm pretty sure I was led to believe that I needed God's forgiveness for my sake. You know, the fire insurance that keeps me from going to the place of weeping and gnashing of teeth.
The problem with that, my sake is not much of a sake to live for. Meaningful life, life to get excited about, must have a sake beyond me. Otherwise, it would not have mattered if I never came into existence.
In seeking God’s forgiveness for my sake, I don’t recognize how my sin – the self-guided actions against God’s intentions for me – affects the one who created me and all the world around me.
For the past 19 years I’ve been enjoying a personal relationship with Christ. When my self-centeredness kicks in, I’ve found it’s much easier to live in relationship with Christ than to live with fire insurance.
With insurance I have to make sure my policy is up to date. I have to follow all the details to be sure I receive the benefits when I need them. Living with Christ, I don’t need insurance. I have his assurance that he is with me always. He’s not an agent who shows up to settle a claim on a policy covering the things I own.
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters. Psalm 24: 1-2
I don’t own anything – not even myself. I’m a dependent on Jesus' plan.
When I seek forgiveness for my sake, I tend to just dump all the “bad” stuff I’ve done in one bucket asking God to get rid of it like a bag of garbage. Oh sure, I say “I’m sorry” but what I really mean is “ok, take this stuff away so my insurance will be effective.”
When I seek forgiveness for his sake, the experience is far different. Over the past few months God and I have been sorting through those bags of garbage. Yes, he took them from me for my sake but he’s been holding them for his sake.
I’m seeing now how my sins affected him more than me. I’m no longer sorry because of the risk of going to Hell. I'm sorry because I sense the pain of hurting one who loves me. I also experience a true restoration in a relationship with the one who desires to give me all the benefits of life right now for the sake of his name.
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name. Philippians 2:9
My name may be engraved on a tombstone some day. His name lives on forever. I like living for the sake of his name, not mine.