This past Sunday in Sunday School, we men were in Psalms 51. This is the Psalm that King David of Israel wrote after his sin with Bathsheba and the ensuing sin that followed.
As we were reviewing the Psalm and talking about how sin effects our lives, two different thoughts were on my heart.
Confess Your Faults
The first is one that I’ve wrestled with on multiple occasions—that of the question of the facade that most Christians wear. I’m sure that any good student of “the Book” would be able to answer the following question right, but do they live that way?
What is the status of believers: Are they perfect, or still sinners?
The answer is that we’re still sinners—saved by grace. And yet we often like to act like we’re the former. We all have the tendency to want to judge others, and we always use ourselves (or what we think of ourselves) as the measuring stick. “If I don’t have a problem in that area, Joe shouldn’t either.”
The reality is that we are weaker because we do not share. But I don’t know that I’ve ever been in a place where people have shared. I believe that we’re all so concerned about what another person will think of us that we don’t want to risk a break in fellowship.
I mean, what would happen if John that sits a row behind you told you that he’s having an issue with lust with your wife? How would you react?
I believe that we’re afraid that either one of two things would happen if we were to share what’s going on in our lives:
- The person we told would minimize the problem—saying it wasn’t that big of a deal.
- The person we told would start to avoid us and think less of us.
We all sin, and yet we’re all hypocritical, judging people by their sin when God sees us all as sinners. And yet I don’t know how one could effectively get people to open up in this way. If we did, I believe that we’d have amazing power.
Really? Only Against God?
In verse 4, David makes an interested statement:
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. – Psalm 51:4
Is all sin only against God? I mean, certainly David sinned against Bathsheba, against his unborn child, against Uriah, against Joab… All these things were sin, and yet we have this verse.
I think this is part of the problem of trying to extract doctrine out of an emotional response. I’m sure that David felt so far removed from the Lord, and his emotion was such that he was begging for mercy. But I also know that, as king, whatever David said was law. In that way, David’s sin was against God—it was God’s law that was violated, not man’s. But he still sinned against the others, and he still reaped the consequences.
To me, I would take the Psalms like I would take many of the prayers or statements by people—in context of course—where I would expect that they’re pouring their heart out, but it’s not necessarily “the Word of the Lord”. Just as our prayers do not always form good doctrine, I wouldn’t suppose theirs would either.
There are great lessons to be learned, aren’t there?