Return to God’s word. Allow it to transform you. Notice how your faith is being deepened and your way of life motivated.
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgement. Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
The psalmist says that God desires truth in our inward being. Toward that end, David asks that God teach him wisdom and put a new and right spirit within him. With that will come the joy of salvation with God and a willing spirit. Equipped in such a way, David promises to teach others from his own experience. Perhaps this why we have the story of David’s sin in the Scriptures: this is his way to teach transgressors of the goodness of God’s abundant mercy.
A new and upright spirit…a spirit of joy and a willingness to teach others of the goodness of the Lord. This sounds familiar to me, like people who have gone through a twelve step program. It is when you have acknowledged your sin (addiction) and know that God (a higher power) forgives and empowers you that there is new life. While there may still be pain due to the consequences of sin, there is a new joy in life. There is a willingness to share with others your experience of pain and forgiveness. In fact, it is imperative to share your story, because it gives hope to others. Not only that, the sharing of your experience of God’s love and mercy, keeps you addiction/sin free.
So this day, are you (am I) willing to share how God washed you (me) clean? how much God loves you? If you and I do, we will know a joy like no other. The sharing will keep us in right relationship with God and enable us to extend mercy to those who are just like us, beloved sinners needing to be reminded of the steadfast love of God.
Blessings on your Lenten Journey
© Psalm 51, Donald Jackson, 2004. The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.