Shame and guilt are extremely heavy burdens to bear. They eat away at our soul. They drive us into seclusion and lead to deeper isolation. The world tries to eliminate shame and guilt by saying we did nothing wrong. But in our heart of hearts we know otherwise. We know this because God has placed within each of us a knowledge of Himself and an awareness that there is right and wrong, good and evil, justice and injustice. Telling us we have not done anything wrong doesn’t remove the guilt or shame. Maybe that is why we have seen an unprecedented rise in the need for psychologists and counselors and medication to make us feel better about ourselves, because just saying we are good doesn’t make us feel good.
David has a different approach to his guilt and shame and it is the approach of the Gospel. He admits his failures and throws himself on the mercy of and holy AND loving, merciful God. The Bible tells us in James that we are to confess our sins to one another. Why? So we can experience first hand the love and forgiveness we so desperately need. David experiences that in this Psalm when he confesses his sin to God, as can we. God also works through those who love Christ and us so that we can experience His love through His people.
When I carry my sin around with me it causes me to waste away. When I confess is and receive God’s mercy I am given life and strength and am renewed. When I am honest and open about my sin and the Lord covers it, then I am truly blessed. The church needs to be a place where people are secure enough that such honesty is possible. Not necessarily with everyone in the church but certainly with someone. We all need to be able to be honest about who we really are with the Lord and with someone who acts on behalf of the Lord and makes His love tangible. We all need to be able to offer that mercy and forgiveness to others in His name.
Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up[b] as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to you,
and I did not cover my iniquity;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah