Today's Lectionary Text
Of David. A Maskil.
Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven,
While I kept silence, my body wasted away
Then I acknowledged my sin to you,
Therefore let all who are faithful
Today’s Psalm speaks so directly to our human nature: our reluctance to admit our guilt and our relief when we do.
I recently attended a conference where a presenter talked about how our brains are such excellent rationalizing machines. We can commit different kinds of bad acts, and our brains will work overtime to justify our actions: “Everyone else was doing it!” “No one was really hurt!” “I was just doing what I was told to do!” “He did it first!” And so on and so on. Our rational mind will attempt to work out ways for us to feel like we are “good people” even when have done bad things. But even when our rational mind has created some justification for our sin, in our soul, we still feel its effect.
David describes that “While I kept in silence, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.” And we remember that David was no stranger to sin. We have all experienced times when we have committed some wrongful act, small or large, and tried to hide it from ourselves and others. David aptly describes the effect. Even if we have rationalized our behavior in some way, we know deep in our souls what we have done. Some religions describe a future “hell” for sinners. David is describing a present “hell” for persons who have sinned, but try to hide or justify it.
But David also describes a solution: admitting the sin and seeking repentance: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity.” And recognizing the loving nature of God, David describes that after confessing his sins to God, “Happy are those whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.” The change is palpable. When we confess our sins, it lifts the burden of trying to justify ourselves.
Sin still has consequences. Depending on the nature of our sin, we may have hurt people or broken relationships or other covenants. Sometimes those relationships with people can be mended and sometimes not. But today’s passage reminds us of God’s nature: that no matter our sins, God still seeks to be in relationship with us. Jesus died for our sins and, if we have faith, by God’s grace, we are forgiven. Happy indeed are those who live in the assurance of God’s forgiving grace!
Associate Conference Lay Leader
Prayer for Reflection
God our Creator and Sustainer, no matter how hard we try to hide our sins from others and even from ourselves, you know us and you know our hearts. Hear our confession for all the ways that we have sinned against you and your children. Help us to seek reconciliation with our neighbors. And thank you for sending Jesus to show us the depths of your forgiveness and mercy. Amen.
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