Because We Are Dust

in: Devotional, Forgiving Day-by-Day

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Psalm 103:10-14 (NIV)

He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.


This psalm of David is one of the most quoted in the psalter. In beautiful language, the psalmist contrasts the greatness, goodness, and eternal nature of God with the frail and fleeting state of humanity.

In these few verses, we are told that God forgives us so completely because his love for us is so deep and steadfast. We also get a picture of God as the father who loves us tenderly and compassionately, covering our sins with loving kindness because he knows we are weak and desperately needing his mercy.

The apostle Paul urges us to extend this same loving kindness to those people who hurt and offend us and need our forgiveness:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. – Colossians 3:12-13

Forgive as the Lord forgave you. In other words, remember that the person who injured you is mere dust, a frail human who is subject to fears and confusion, motivated by pain and selfishness—in fact, a lot like you and me.

A first step toward forgiving that person is to recognize your alikeness as flawed humans in desperate need of kindness and mercy. Have you ever acted selfishly, out of pain or confusion or fear, and later realized that you hurt someone and needed to be forgiven? Acknowledging and confessing that flaw in yourself can help you find the compassion you need to forgive others who have harmed you.


FATHER, I don’t like to confess that I am mere dust, subject to selfish and weak motives that cause trouble in my relationships. Help me to acknowledge my own frailty so that I can be generous and compassionate with others who hurt and disappoint me. Thank you for your steadfast love and compassion that cover even the ugliest of my transgressions.


Mark 11:25; Luke 23:34


How can admitting your flaws make you better at forgiving?

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