"For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me." Psalm 51:3
Inevitably as I am standing in line at the grocery store I find that the magazines at the cash registers catch my attention. The headlines over the years always seem to center on a lot of the same things. One of the themes that I have noticed over the years is that of a middle aged actor or actress who has finally come to terms with themselves. The headline is about how they are now living with the peace and self-identity that they never achieved when they were younger. We are being told that their past has been left behind and their new life is fulfilling and complete.
Can time heal all hurts? Can we distance ourselves from our past and move on to better things? Is true happiness and peace a by-product of age or does it require something more than just that? Years ago we sold a house to an older couple and when I was walking through their home with them the lady said to me, "I am eighty-five years old so I have the right to be uptight and opinionated. I have earned that right!" And that lady lived by that rule. She did not find peace in her old age; rather, she embraced her right to be moody, grouchy and opinionated. Despite this her and her husband became some of my favorite customers to work with.
David says that he knows his transgressions and that his sin is ever before him. I take this to mean that David did not come to believe that he could get past his sin by letting time go by. Over a year had passed since he committed adultery and had a man killed. Yet, despite great efforts to hide it he could not forget his sin and nor could he get beyond them. Time did not heal it. New things could not make him forget it.
As I look back over my forty-seven years on this earth I am continually aware that there are skeletons in my closet that are never truly forgotten and they rear their ugly heads up from time to time. Some times when they make themselves known I immediately feel the sting of what they represent and experience the condemnation and shame of what I have done. What are we to do when these things happen? Years spent running from them has not worked?
Perhaps it is not a bad thing when God brings these things to our mind. Perhaps it is a gracious thing when we can say with David, "My sin is ever before me. I cannot outrun it and I cannot forget it." It is a good thing because we are made aware that these sins need to be dealt with.
So what makes sin so hard to distance ourselves from? Why can we not forget it? Why can we not just move on? David says that this is because our sin is ultimately against God. "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight so that you are justified in your words and blameless in your judgment." (v.4) Our sin has been seen and our transgressions have brought fourth a judgment of condemnation from God. It is a just and blameless judgment. We cannot blame anyone or anything else.
In this moment David becomes aware of the fact that he has a sin issue from birth. He has a nature that sins and he cannot save himself. But what he can do now is to come clean before God. He can stop running and hiding. He can stop denying and making excuses. He can stop justifying and playing games.
Notice that in the midst of all of this talk of sin, transgressions and iniquity there is a strange word that almost seems out of place. In the middle of this talk about evil being done and the judgment that has been blamelessly pronounced there is some light shining fourth. In the midst of this discussion concerning indwelling sin we also find hope. We see it when David says, "Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart." What a beautiful word David uses when he says that God delights in truth. God, who is holy and righteous, delights when sinners begin to be truthful about sin and the condition of their heart. And then David says that it is in such a person that God Himself can begin to teach wisdom in the heart of such a person.
No, we won't find wisdom in the pages of the magazines sitting at the cash register but we will find it in the pages of scripture. No, we won't find the secret to getting beyond sin in the testimony of those who simply say that time heals; but we can find it when we acknowledge the Lord and let Him begin to deal with our sin. He delights in such a person.
So my friend, if you are aware of your sin, come to the Lord honestly and truthfully. Acknowledge your sin and see the delight that He has in that moment. Isn't it something to consider that years of pain from running from and denying our sin can be overcome and forgiven so quickly. Where there was once judgment now there can be delight.