When I read David’s cry to God in Psalm 38, I am struck by this: David sees his mess brought about from his own sin without any rose colored glasses.
“My wounds stink and fester because of my foolishness….”
“I am feeble and crushed; I groan because of the tumult in my heart…”
Not exactly the language I use when describing my sin. I say things like, it’s something I’m working on. It’s an area of struggle. David lays out the truth. His sin is breaking him and he longs for God to be merciful and bring restoration. Without that brutal honesty, my repentance becomes a technical step, not a heart-felt response of surrender.
Yet David also feels the hurt from people around him who are gloating or uncomfortable with him in his mess. Friends are pulling away. Enemies are gleefully plotting how this will bring his destruction. The truth is only God loves us in our messiest places in the way that can bring true healing. My sin effects others. Sometimes when I’m honest about it, people will feel ashamed or think I’m being a little “over spiritual” or simply not know how to respond. Other times, people around me may be glad to see me fall. Enjoy feeling a little bigger at my expense. They are not my problem or my solution to healing though, so I can respond like David saying,
“But for you, O Lord, do I wait. It is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.”
We absolutely need community. God is clear about this. But not for forgiveness. Not for restoration from sin. Only God can offer these, and offer he does! Through Christ, there is abundant mercy. While I may feel crushed, Christ was actually crushed for me. While I may hurt over people’s response to my sin, Christ was plotted against, abandoned and betrayed- for me. In my place. And in knowing that grace, I can rejoice even in repentance, that I am never alone and never rejected by Him.
“As for you O Lord, you will not restrain your mercy from me; your steadfast love and your faithfulness will ever preserve me.” -Psalm 39:11