Friday, February 16, 2024

Stott: introspection

Friday, February 16, 2024
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.
    —Psalm 51:1-2 (NIV)
    We all know that too much introspection can be unhealthy, unhelpful and even damaging. But some is not only salutary, but necessary. Our Bible reading will often sober and abase us in this way. The word of God ruthlessly exposes our sin, selfishness, vanity and greed, and then challenges us to repent and to confess. One of the safest ways to do this is to take on our lips one of the penitential psalms, especially perhaps Psalm 51 (“Have mercy on me, O God”) or Psalm 130 (“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord”). It is a healthy discipline each evening to review the day briefly and call to mind our failures. Not to do so tends to make us slapdash about sin and encourages us to presume on God’s mercy, whereas to make a habit of doing so humbles and shames us, and increases our longing for greater holiness. There is nothing morbid about the confession of sins, so long as we go on to give thanks for the forgiveness of sin s. It is fine to look inwards, so long as it leads us immediately to look outwards and upwards again.
    ... John R. W. Stott (1921-2011), Basic Christianity, Nottingham, U.K.: Inter-Varsity Press, 2008, third edition, p. 120-122 (see the book)
    See also Ps. 51; 38:1-4; 102:12; 130; 143:1-2; Pr. 20:9; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eze. 11:19; 36:25-27; Acts 15:9; 1 Pet. 1:22
Quiet time reflection:
    Have I asked for cleansing in forgiveness?
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