Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you. – Psalm 51:13
Could you imagine writing a song about your greatest failure in life? Not only write about it but know that people were going to sing about and talk about it for years to come. That is precisely what our beloved King David did. He could have written about his greatest victory. He could have gone into just how he brought down the 9-foot giant with only a sling and a stone. He didn’t do that. He wrote about his greatest moral failure. Why?
Read the main verse one more time.
Brutal honesty is rarely seen in Christians today. Most people just gloss over their sins. American Christians have mastered justification, and I don’t mean the theological kind. I mean the kind where we make excuses for absolutely everything we do that we know is wrong. I believe David did this for about nine or ten months. But when he murdered Uriah, married Bathsheba, and Nathan the prophet came and confronted him, there was no more justifying this. David had to embrace his past. This led him to a place of true repentance. Had he not gotten to this place, he would have just gone on thinking he didn’t really need to be forgiven.
I like the fact that while he was writing this all down, David was aware that others will need these words. He knew there would be people who would sin greatly. He knew they would also need to turn back to God and find mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Therefore, he just laid it all out there for the world to read. I am glad he did. I have prayed many times, “Lord, create in me a clean heart. I just want to be right before You.” I’m following the lead of King David who lived 3,000 years ago. That’s pretty incredible!
Brutal honesty will get you in trouble. I bet there were people out there who used this against David. They could easily take his public confession and turn it on him. In 2 Samuel 15:4, even David’s own son, Absalom, began to worm his way into the hearts of the people. A public confession like this would have been the perfect opportunity to bring dad down and take his place as king. Temporarily, it worked. But in the long run, David remains victorious.
As I type this out, I can’t help but think of the times putting my life on public display has been used against me. I admit that I had a foul mouth, so kids will say, “Well you cussed.” I admit that I slept around and looked at porn, so others will say, “Well you did, too.” People have come to me after I’ve preached and told me that I made them uncomfortable; or told me they’ve heard me talk of sexual immorality enough already. But here is the best part: 100% of the time, someone else has contacted me, wanted to meet with me, and confessed to me that they struggle right now with the same things I did. They want to know one thing . . . “How can I be set free?” Doesn’t that make it all worth it? Isn’t that what David was shooting for in Psalm 51:13?
What about you? Are you someone who just wants to appear that you are “fine” all the time? Do you belong to a church where everything is just neat, and in perfect order? Or, do you belong to a church where things can just get brutally honest and messy? What about your Christian friends? Which type are they? My life was changed at one of the messy churches where they talked about real problems and didn’t mind brutal honesty. Conversations with men who were unashamed to tell me where they’ve been and what they’ve done have slowly shaped, chiseled, and transformed me. Be that type of man or woman of God. For then and only then, “transgressors will learn the ways of God, and sinners will turn back to Him.”
Lord, my mind goes to Luke 7 when the sinful woman broke the expensive alabaster box, poured the perfume on your feet, and used her tears and hair to wipe your feet. At that moment, nobody was more in love with you. At thot moment, nobody understood mercy, grace, and forgiveness more. Yet, how many times have I been the Pharisee watching and thinking that I was ok and could sit at eye level with you? When I think I’m ok, I don’t love you very much and I certainly don’t see you rightly. When I realize how great my sin is, I think about what a great Savior you are. I bow my heart to you this morning. I give my life to you one more time. For where would I be today had you not entered my life? If embracing my past could possibly save another . . . If being brutally honest could possibly set another free who currently is where I’ve been . . . Use me, Lord. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.