Monday, March 21, 2011


Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. - Psalm 51:6

David's prayer of repentance when the prophet Nathan confronted him about his adultery with Bathsheba - Psalm 51 - has served as a model prayer of repentance for Christians for centuries. As a child, I remember a particularly beautiful song we used to sing in church based on this Psalm. It has long been one of my favorites.

Reading through David's prayer this week, I felt like light bulbs were going off again. You delight in truth in the inward being...

The women at Grace are beginning a study of 1 John. At our first meeting, we looked at how sin hinders our fellowship with God. We talked about our excuses for sin, our wrong ways of dealing with sin, our tendency to downplay or make light of our sin. Basically, we just don't want to be honest about the fact that we are sinful, and that our sin is truly an offense to God. I guess it was Saturday morning's discussion that made Psalm 51:6 pop out at me during my latest read-through.

You delight in truth in the inward being... Why the sudden discussion of truth, right in the middle of a prayer of repentance? Truth about what? Truth - about my sin. About how I love my sin. About how I want to please myself more than my God. About my inability to truly repent - or to even desire to repent - apart from the work of the Holy Spirit in my heart.

Seems lately I've been learning that one of the sinister deceptions of Satan is his selling us the lie that if we downplay our sin instead of honestly confessing it, if we just ignore the white elephant in the corner and work harder to do better, then we will be able to conquer sin, please God, and free ourselves of the burden of our guilt.

Oddly, this verse in Psalm 51 seems to be saying that God desires just the opposite. He doesn't want me to come to Him telling Him my excuses, or how my sin is at least not as bad as Joe's, or how I'm going to clean up my act and make everything better. He wants me to tell Him the truth.

God, of course, already knows the truth, all the ugly details of my sin. But God wants me to know and own the truth - the truth that my sin is not about my circumstances, or my family history, or my not knowing better. My sin comes from my heart, from my inward being; it's what I want. It's here, in my heart, that I so desperately need to be honest about my sin - with myself, and with my Creator.

I am praying for God to open my eyes to the reality of my sin, for me to be able to see it as truly vile. I am praying, too, for the courage to call a snake a snake...for the courage to tell the truth, even in my inward being. I am praying that God will set me free from the sin of lying to myself...and to Him.

"If we confess our sins," - if we tell the truth - "he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

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