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Here is a verse of Scripture which we may find both encouraging and disheartening. Jesus said, “Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13) The first half of this verse quotes the Prophet Hosea 6:6 and the Prophet Micah 6:6-8.

We cannot earn, nor can we buy, God’s favour. What we can do is humbly accept with thanksgiving God’s forgiving love in Jesus. God is the one who invites us to come to the table which God has prepared and provides for repentant sinners.

To come to the table requires us to admit that we accept God’s judgment and that only God’s loving presence with us can give us the courage to trust God and go forth in the paths of righteousness. To recognize and own our sinful tendencies can be a disheartening process and yet at the same time it is an encouraging and freeing moment as we hear our Saviour’s words, “I have come to call sinners. Your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”

Like the recovering addict, the recovering sinner, goes forward with a lighter step and a joy filled heart. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Bible Reading: Psalm 23: 3, 5; Matthew 9:13; Luke 5: 20; John 8:11.