If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
   1 John 1:9 

         Lately I have been giving a great deal of thought to the ideas of repentance and forgiveness. As Christians, we strive to do and say things that are in accordance with the Word and the will of God. There are times when this is difficult. There are so many voices telling us what to think, how to act, what to believe about everything from products to politics. Sometimes voices we have come to trust can put forth concepts and ideas that are only part of the truth; in some cases, not true at all. When we act on those ideas, misleading us into actions that hurt others, how do we deal with that?
         It may take a long time before we come to the truth of an issue. Hindsight is 20/20, so they say. Looking back, I can see many times when I thought I was doing or saying the right thing, only to find later that I took the wrong path and, directly or indirectly, hurt someone. This could take the form of anything from a broken relationship to something like climate control. The result of my driving a gasoline-powered car may have hurt many people due to the destruction of the environment. I might be able to apologize to a friend today that I had an argument with yesterday and repair the relationship person-to-person, but how do I deal with years of behavior I wasn’t aware of at the time?

         According to Scripture, two acts are necessary:
 repentance (changing the way I think about something, turning around and behaving differently) and ask for forgiveness. The forgiveness is something we can’t do. God can forgive my sin, but it’s up to me to turn away from it and behave differently. This is not an easy task. Constant communication with God through prayer and study is necessary. It also can involve explaining to well-meaning friends why we are thinking and acting differently. God can guide us through this if we are truly open to that leading Spirit.

Holy Spirit, guide me to be sensitive to the voices I hear. Help me to discern the truth of the issues I am facing at this turbulent time. Give me the ability to discern what is true and to repent and ask your forgiveness when I have strayed from the right path. Keep me ever listening for your still, small voice in the face of the storm. In the name of Jesus Christ, my Redeemer and Friend, I humbly pray. Amen. 
                                                                            Sue Uzelmeier

St. John's Ivyland
820 Almshouse Road
Ivyland, PA 18974
Rev. Brad Leight, Pastor