BOTH PSALM 79 AND DANIEL are about asking God for his compassion and forgiveness after the people of Israel have gone against God’s wishes. Daniel prays to the Lord, asking him for forgiveness because the people “have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from the commandments and ordinances.” The Lord is merciful and forgiving. We expect this from God, for, after all, he is God. As man, we know we have a hard time doing what God has asked of us. We expect to ask for forgiveness, for, after all, we do sin from time to time.
Then we read Luke, when Jesus tells us to love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, pray for those who abuse us. He issues one command after another that sounds impossible to fulfill. Love our enemies? After what they have done to us? Our natural reaction is the opposite: to treat them badly and get even with them.
But wait! In Daniel we expect God to forgive us. So if we are made in the image of God, we should do likewise. In this time of Lent, let’s all try even harder to be good to each other: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.”