“I said to myself, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’. And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.” (Psalm 32:5b)
“How can you live with yourself?” We say this to someone who has deliberately, callously or badly hurt another person. A murderer, a rapist, a serious criminal.
King David had sex with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. She became pregnant, so David had Uriah killed in battle. David was an adulterer and a murderer. How did David live with himself? He said, “When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long” (verse 3). But then David repented. He said, “I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt” (verse 5). Like the king of Nineveh, David was honest with God and himself. He gave no excuses, no justification — he came as a helpless, hopeless sinner.
David reported, “And you forgave me!” (verse 5). Entirely from God’s mercy, compassion and love! No wonder he was overcome with gratitude and joy. “O what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!” (verse 1).
I have not murdered, but Jesus said if I am angry with someone, call someone an idiot or curse someone, I am the same as a murderer. Similarly, I have not committed adultery, but if I look at a woman with lust, I am guilty (Matthew 5:22,28). When I look in my heart with God’s eyes, I am condemned by many sins.
I, like David, come to God with no excuses or justification, but as a helpless, hopeless sinner. I confess my sin. And God forgives me! I know this because his Son Jesus Christ died for me, and he feeds me with his body, given for us, and his blood shed for the forgiveness of sin.
How do I live with myself? Like David, I rejoice with the freedom that God’s forgiveness brings. Since I am one “whose sin is put out of sight” (verse 1) and “whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt” (verse 2), his words, “Shout for joy, all you whose hearts are pure!” (verse 11), also means me!
I confess that I have hurt others and you. Give me again the joy of your salvation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.