The Forgiven Parent & Teacher
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.Psalm 130:4
A parent or teacher reading and reflecting upon this series of meditations may become increasingly discouraged. Perhaps he recognizes that what he should be doing is not happening. Perhaps a teacher realizes that what she should not be doing is what is happening. “If I am such a poor parent or teacher by God’s standard, what hope is there?”
The psalmist of Psalm 130 struggled with the same feelings. The verse preceding our text reads, “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” The answer to his question is, of course, no one. All are sinners. All have fallen short of God’s standards. In our personal lives and in our parenting and teaching all of us have missed the mark.
Yet this psalm encourages us. We read the word “but”: there is something else. “But there is forgiveness with thee (God), that thou mayest be feared (reverenced).” How we can glorify God for two wonderful truths here! One, that He is able and willing to forgive all our sins, even our sins in parenting and teaching. And two, He does not depend on our works to be perfect in order to bless them. The psalmist breaks forth in the next verses exclaiming how much he hopes in God – he looks for the Lord and for His work more than night watchmen look for the morning light!
Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.” Ps. 130:8
So, dear parent and teacher, let these truths encourage you as they did the psalmist. Hope in God! He is a merciful God, not only to forgive you your parenting and teaching sins, but to redeem them. He can use your parenting with all its shortcomings and your teaching with all its imperfectness to His own good purpose. He redeems and uses sin-stained efforts! As one of our forefathers put it, “The Lord can hit straight with a crooked stick.”
What a source of hope and encouragement this is! Just as Israel was taught to hope in the God who is merciful and plenteous in redemption, so you and I are instructed to go to Him. There was a future for Israel – a future that rested on God, upon His mercy and plenteous redemption. So there is a future for your children and grandchildren, and for your students and their children. There would be no future for them if their future depended upon you. But the wonderful truth is that their future is based on a merciful God who is plenteous in redemption. His words, works, and promises confirm this.
Just as God promised in circumcision (Gen. 17:7) to the Old Testament church, “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee,” so He renewed His promise in baptism to the New Testament church, saying,
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
Perhaps you are thinking, “My sins as a father are so great. My shortcomings as a mother are so extensive. I am so ashamed of my performance as a teacher. If you only knew how far I missed the mark! Not only are my sins of omission as a mountain high, I have also committed sins, and my children know of them. I have been such a poor example. Is there still hope?”
Yes, in God there is hope. You cannot place yourself beyond the breadth of His Word and promises. He can save to the uttermost (Heb. 7:25), forgive all iniquities (Ps. 103:4), forgive according to the infinite riches of His grace (James 5:15), and cleanse from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). God’s “plenteousness redemption” is higher yet than the mountain of your shortcomings. God’s grace runs deeper than your sin.
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
There is hope for you and your future generations. There is infinite power to forgive and to redeem in the shed blood of the Lamb of God. Indeed, the Lord can hit straight even when using a crooked stick.
Are you a forgiven parent, a redeemed teacher?