For your name’s sake, O Lord,
pardon my guilt, for it is great. (Psalm 25:11 ESV)
This Psalm tells us specifically what it is that the psalmist appeals to for forgiveness. He appeals to the name of the Lord, “for your name’s sake, O Lord.” We have a natural instinct to ask the Lord for forgiveness on the basis of our sin not being that bad or on the basis of our promise to not do it anymore or our commitment to be better. One of the problems with that is evident when we later succumb to the same sin. Then we feel doubly bad. Not only did we sin, but we broke our promise. But that’s not the worst of it. A promise doesn’t actually pay the debt we owe for our sin. Promising to do better may temporarily make us feel better, but in the end it counts for nothing.
Instead, the psalmist appeals to the name of the Lord. What does this mean? The Lord bound himself to HIs people when he made promises to Abraham to be his God and the God of his descendants after Him. That means that God has put His own reputation on the line with regard to these people. He has taken their debt upon Himself. Thus, it is for the Lord’s name sake – for the glory of His own reputation and name that He will forgive. This gives us a much more powerful reason to be assured that God really will pardon our guilt than our own flimsy promises.
When you do something wrong and ask for forgiveness from a friend or parent, what reason do you give when you ask them to forgive?
Chronological Reading Plan plus Psalms: Ge 38-40, Ps 25
Sometimes we ask because we have guilty conscience and other times to get out of trouble faster. And other times to make peace.
Forgive me because I blew it and need it. Forgive me because my brother made me do it. What we should realize is that forgiveness is not a right and we depend completely on the mercy of the forgiver. With the Lord we have assurance because His reputation is at stake.