My thoughts (David Squire):
Remember Jacob Marley, from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol? Even if you’ve never read the story, you’ve probably seen ten thousand and two versions of it on television in the month before Christmas. Jacob was the first ghost to visit Mr. Scrooge, and in life, had been Scrooge’s business partner.
Ol’ Jacob carried around all the baggage he had accumulated in this life. In fact, it was chained to him — he couldn’t get away from it.
What’s chained to you? What festers in the corners of your heart? Maybe it’s a relationship that ended badly, or something you’ve said that you can’t take back. Maybe it was something that couldn’t be avoided — like causing a loved one pain when you came out to them. If you’ve done your best to make it right, do you find yourself still “chained” to the guilt, dragging it around like Jacob and his burdens?
If you’re anything like me, I don’t like to think about it — “out of sight, out of mind” is a motto I can live by. But every so often I’m reminded, and the chains begin to rattle.
But verses from this psalm give me hope:
God does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is God’s steadfast love toward those who fear God;
as far as the east is from the west, so far God removes our transgressions from us.
It’s interesting that the writer didn’t say, “as far as the north is from the south.” You can only go a finite distance north — then you start heading back south again. East and west, however, are infinitely far apart. (If this doesn’t make intuitive sense, check out the lines on a globe. You can go east or west forever.)
So when I confess or repent or give it to God, it’s really gone. And if God moves my baggage infinitely far away, what business do I have calling it back? Just let it be.
Thought for the day: What guilt or regrets are still chained to you? Let them go. “As far as the east is from the west…”
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to begin, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.