Confession Brings Resolution

by Samantha Tidball

Spend some time reading and reflecting on Psalm 51:

Have mercy on me, God, according to your faithful love!
    Wipe away my wrongdoings according to your great compassion!
Wash me completely clean of my guilt;
    purify me from my sin!
Because I know my wrongdoings,
    my sin is always right in front of me.
I’ve sinned against you—you alone.
    I’ve committed evil in your sight.
That’s why you are justified when you render your verdict,
    completely correct when you issue your judgment.
Yes, I was born in guilt, in sin,
    from the moment my mother conceived me.
And yes, you want truth in the most hidden places;
    you teach me wisdom in the most secret space.

Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean;
    wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and celebration again;
    let the bones you crushed rejoice once more.
Hide your face from my sins;
    wipe away all my guilty deeds!
10 Create a clean heart for me, God;
    put a new, faithful spirit deep inside me!
11 Please don’t throw me out of your presence;
    please don’t take your holy spirit away from me.
12 Return the joy of your salvation to me
    and sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach wrongdoers your ways,
    and sinners will come back to you.

14 Deliver me from violence, God, God of my salvation,
    so that my tongue can sing of your righteousness.
15 Lord, open my lips,
    and my mouth will proclaim your praise.
16 You don’t want sacrifices.
    If I gave an entirely burned offering,
    you wouldn’t be pleased.
17 A broken spirit is my sacrifice, God.
    You won’t despise a heart, God, that is broken and crushed.
18 Do good things for Zion by your favor.
    Rebuild Jerusalem’s walls.
19 Then you will again want sacrifices of righteousness—
    entirely burned offerings and complete offerings.
        Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.

David sinned big time when he slept with and impregnated Bathsheba. He tried to cover up his sin by moving her soldier husband, Uriah, to the frontline of war where he was killed. David deserved to die under the law of his day. One might imagine he was wallowing in regret, guilt, and despair. When confronted in Psalm 51, David confessed by begging for God’s compassion and mercy. He admitted he sinned, but instead of dwelling on his mistakes, David pointed to God’s goodness.

When we sin, let’s take the same approach to God as David did. Hating ourselves and feeling overwhelmed by guilt and shame is not healthy. Beating up ourselves over our mistakes doesn’t fix them or bring reconciliation to the situation. Only Jesus can redeem and bring healing to what’s broken. Fixing our eyes on Jesus and the goodness of God is the answer. We should act like David by admitting we sinned and asking for God’s forgiveness. Then, with open hands, we can receive God’s tender mercies and compassion as a child of the Lord.

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