Forgiveness is a loaded word. It holds so much weight and it’s so hard to do. It’s hard to forgive others when they hurt us, but often times it’s even harder to forgive ourselves. Forgiveness means to stop feeling angry towards someone and to stop requiring a payment from them. Are you angry at yourself for your sin? Are you still making yourself pay for you sin?
If Jesus already forgave us, then why is it so hard to forgive ourselves? If Jesus paid the price for our sin already, then why do we insist on making ourselves pay for our sins over and over again?
David struggled with feeling ashamed of his sin. He was a man after God’s own heart, but He had this one deep, dark sin that haunted him. In 2 Samuel 11 we uncover the story of David and Bathsheba. It is one filled with drama, an affair, an unplanned pregnancy, scheme after scheme, and ultimately murder. David’s one temptation in the flesh, gave birth to a string of unfortunate and desperate attempts to cover up and fix his first mistake. He panicked… tried to fix it… and when his plan didn’t work resulted to murder. I feel like the process he went through is often times the same process we go through when we sin, well maybe besides the murder part. We sin… and we feel ashamed, but before taking it to God, we try to fix it ourselves. When that doesn’t work, we begin to plot to cover up our sin… we go to every other resort before going to the Lord. We’re left feeling ashamed, guilt-ridden, and ultimately we fall into such a dark place because when desire gives birth to sin, it leads to death.
2 Samuel 12 shows the emotional affect all of this had on David. The child that Bathsheba had dies, and in the process David is fasting and praying and ultimately begging God to forgive him of his sin. When the child dies, David was heartbroken over his sin and couldn’t focus on anything for days.
Psalm 51 is the prayer David prayed after His affair with Bathsheba. He pours his heart out, and it gives us a glimpse into his internal struggle, which can help us in ours.
Psalm 51:1-6 NIV says “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.”
There are a couple of things that I find so relatable in this prayer.
David starts by asking for mercy and then moves to his sin. He says his sin is always before him, which makes me think he had a hard time focusing on anything but his sin. Can you relate? I know I can.
Then he talks about his sin some more and how he’s been sinful from birth. I wonder if all of his past sins flashed before his eyes? I wonder if he immediately remember all of his big time sins? The movie reel starts playing and now he’s ashamed of more than just the sin at hand.
But then, after all of that, he shows a glimmer of hope. He remembers that the Lord desired faithfulness and taught him wisdom in the secret place. It’s not until he remembers this that he begins to ask for joy and happiness. And finally, he says he will praise him and teach others to turn back to him.
For David to forgive himself, he had to take it to God. He laid it all out there. He left nothing on the table, and he was able to finally put his sin in the hands of the only one strong enough to carry it.
Have you forgiven yourself for your sin? Have you put it in the hands of the only one who is really strong enough to handle it?
Write a prayer to God confessing your sins. Follow David’s model, or do your own, but lay it out there. Only when we stand transparent before God, can we stand up tall before ourselves and others. Give him your sin once and for all and remember that Jesus paid the price so that we don’t have to.