King David has two outstanding events in his life that most people know. As a youth he fought the giant Goliath and saved the Israelites. The second event was when he was an older man who chose not to go to war with his men, looked out his window and saw Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite. He saw, he wanted, he took. She conceived and one sin led to another. He placed Uriah in the front line of battle so he would be killed. How easy we forget that just because we cannot see God, does not mean he cannot see us – all the time! God sent Nathan the prophet to confront David.
That horrible moment when we realize we have failed ourselves, our beliefs, another, and ultimately our God marks us forever. “Forgive and forget” doesn’t work for murder or lust out of control. Psalm 51 is the psalm David wrote. Sometimes our guilt is so deep we have no words for the self-hatred and shame we feel. The words of this psalm have helped many to get themselves straightened out. The path to forgiveness involves three stages: honest admission of the wrong and our part – no rationalization, an honest desire to be washed and changed, and a “make-over” from inside out – create in me a clean heart!
David throws himself on God’s mercy, love and compassion confessing his realization that he has sinned against God by abusing his power as king, and against Bathsheba, Uriah and his people. Sin separates us from God, others, and ourselves.
David realizes he cannot wash himself and no cover-up is going to reverse what has happened. Guilt destroys peace within and without and requires more than a change of mind, more than a kiss and make-up moment, and more than trying again without the “oops.” David needs help!
David begs for the reorganization of values and world view, a clean heart, so that betrayal does not happen again, so that he does not deceive himself again. David was known as “a man after God’s own heart,” a clean heart.
We all have skeletons in the closet and closing the door does not remove them from the house. Perhaps there is an old sin that plagues or that you are afraid will come to light. Perhaps the other person is no longer alive or geographically lost to you. But talk with God, journaling, and confession need not be big public scenes but getting those sins dealt with and unloading the weight of sin is a burden worth dumping. Don’t wait if you have something you need to deal with. Forgiveness frees us to worship with joy and in peace. Blessings.