After just about every funeral or celebration of life service that I’ve conducted, a God-fearing soul comes to me to let me in on the failings of the dearly beloved. They fear that I haven’t delivered an honest accounting (by following Luther’s explanation of the commandment against bearing false witness, in which we are told that it’s not enough not to lie, we are to interpret the other’s words and actions in the best light). The problem is that we can be afraid, maybe more for ourselves than for others. So, we try to take away points from others in the hope that it’ll help our standing.
The psalmist assures us of two things. First, God’s not keeping count. I mean, we know it is love when the counting stops, right? Secondly, God’s forgiveness, when accepted, creates in us a desire to love God back. When we stand in awe of a love much beyond our own, we’re finally getting what God has shown us in Jesus. We finally get what scripture means by “fear.”
And we can rest. God loves us, as we are.
Free me, Lord, from my fears. Help me to trust that you can love me even when I can't love myself so that I can love you and others. Turn my fears into worship and praise. — EB