Restore us, O God; make your face to shine on us, that we may be saved. (Ps. 80:3)
The courtroom was dead silent as the brother of the victim approached the stand to face the accused. His brother had been murdered—shot in cold blood by the defendant. It was now the survivor’s turn to give his statement. I watched as the man looked at his notes and expected to hear the same story I had heard from many victims before: a cry for justice for the maximum penalty of the law. This was different. The grieving brother read his statement: “I forgive you and may God have mercy on your soul.”
Forgiveness has a restorative power. We hold the power in our words and in our actions to forgive one another, but only God can forgive us our sins and restore us to right relationship with him (righteousness). The plea of this psalm is for God’s forgiveness and for his favor to return to his people. When Asaph wrote this, he didn’t know what we know: that we have been restored through the wonderful work of Jesus!
Forgiveness through Jesus is a free gift of God’s grace, but our response is simple: We are to repent and believe. When we make mistakes, may we adopt the posture of this psalm and cry out to God for his restoration and be reminded of the shining face of Jesus who takes away our sin and shame.
Seek restoration by seeking the face of God.
Chris McFadden is a doctoral student at Wesley Seminary and an ordained minister, serving Lakin Wesleyan Church in Kansas. He is married to Suzanne and has two beautiful daughters.
© 2021 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.