3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
I don’t remember many sermons, my own or someone else’s, but there’s one in particular that I remember my home pastor preaching when I was in high school. It may have been summer; I’m not sure. He told the congregation how he and his wife enjoyed ice cream. They got into the habit of going out for ice cream on a regular basis. It was a nice time they spent together, just the two of them. But then one day he had a check-up at the doctor’s and discovered that he had gained a some weight. He looked down at his midsection and repeated these words from the psalm, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.”
This is a psalm of David, quite possibly written at this time when he was confronted with the extent of his wrongdoing with Bathsheba. But these words above are only verse 3. David goes on to ask God to cleanse him and make him whiter than snow. He prays, “Create in me a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation; grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.”
God doesn’t point fingers simply to condemn us and send us off into the proverbial corner to lick our wounds and pout. God wants for us what God hopes we will also do for others – to be restored so that we will help others do the same. God wants us to draw near to the Lord without fear, so that guilt has been confessed, so we are released from its power, so we are encouraged to love God again with clean hearts. “Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.”
No doubt we will continue to do wrong things, but the joy is when we do not allow our sin to remain before us in any fashion. Instead, as we confess so we are set free to love and serve our God with joy and gladness.
Gracious God, you love us and want the best for us. You want to release us from the power of sin over us, to put the past to rest and be freed to return to you with a newness of heart. Forgive us and enable us to sing your praises. Then others will also be set free to love you and praise you, in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.