Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my many transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:1-2
There’s a difference between being sorry, and being sorry you got caught. King David got caught. He was confronted by his friend Nathan, who revealed the truth about David’s secret affair with Bathsheba. It was painful, but it opened the way for forgiveness and healing.
David wrote down his prayer and the insightful words in Psalm 51 have much to teach us about repentance. First, David called out for God’s mercy and appealed to His Father’s unfailing love and great compassion. Second, he admitted that he was well aware that what he did was wrong, even though he tried to cover it up. Third, he recognized that his sin not only affected the lives of others, but also hurt the heart of His God, who saw it all.
It’s always easier to pinpoint the sins in other people’s lives than to take a truthful look into our own hearts. David wrote, “Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (Psalm 51:6) It takes real bravery to be honest about our “inmost places”. As Curtis Zackery wrote in his book, “Soul Rest”, “When we are honest with ourselves about the tensions that exist in our hearts, we can begin to take steps toward finding restoration and healing.”
If you can, set aside some time today and invite the merciful and compassionate God into the inner parts of your heart as you read Psalm 51. Pray along with David, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.”
Thank you, Lord, for leading me to be honest about myself. I know I cannot fake it with You. Help me to pull off the masks and other things I hide behind. I want to be all You created me to be.