Please begin with prayer for an open heart, before you read the passage below. Psalm 51:1-4 – 1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.
Did you continue singing the song??? I will get back to the words of the song shortly. This is one of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture, which is a little weird, when you think of the context. King David had just committed adultery with Bathsheba, attempted to trick her husband to cover her baby bump, and when that didn’t work, he essentially had him killed on the battlefield. (Again, weird this is a fave!)
It’s such a leveling section for me---it totally evens the playing field amongst all of humanity and should be reflected on frequently to humble us at the mercy and grace of God. All too often in my life, it’s easy to rank myself against people I encounter through a variety of ways. Probably stems from deeply rooted insecurity, but that’s a topic for another blog!
V.2-3 hits me hard---I only bring sin and brokenness to the table and have no possibility to remove that in and of myself. David thanks God for His mercy and unfailing love, because he (and we) is not given what is deserved. We deserve the weight, separation, and consequence of our inborn nature and sinful rebellion. Now, back to the song---What can wash away my sin…nothing but the blood of Jesus! God, in His forbearance, left man’s sins unpunished (Romans 3:25) and at just the right time, executed His judgment on His perfect Son---wow! V.4 shows the only true Judge is God himself, who brings His judgment down fiercely, just on the unblemished One and not us.
This should cause us to pause---Do we really understand the magnitude and offense of our sin? Do we capture a glimpse of the grace and mercy extended freely to us through Jesus?
I heard it explained like this---imagine I was walking down the street and someone ran up and punched me in the face. There would be consequences and probably some jail time, but nothing major. Now, imagine this same person broke through the Secret Service and did the same thing to the President. I bet the consequences would be much steeper. Now, imagine this magnified one more time to ‘punching’ a Holy God in the face. The magnitude of the offense is measured by the one that if offended!!
When looking at Matthew 18 from Sunday, we begin from humility in the body of Christ, understanding the grace and mercy granted to us. Why would I/we ever desire to hold something over our brother’s head and not seek out reconciliation? God, change my heart, God change our hearts, so we can live out offenses from a healthy starting point---it doesn’t mean that we don’t recognize the sin, because we do! We should take sin seriously---it just needs to start with my own sin and God’s mercy as the frame of reference! We can learn tools of forgiveness, which are great, but we must heal the deeper proclivity towards unforgiveness first.
Let us receive God’s mercy and grace and have that compel our heart to healthy relationships and reconciliation within and outside the body of Christ!
Is it hard to forgive those around you? Why? How frequently does the mercy and grace of God cross your mind? How can we be better at remembering His mercy? I would love to hear your journey and how this passage impacted you.