By Allen White
How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Psalm 19:12-14 (NLT)
This psalm begins with “the heavens declare the glory of God (Psalm 19:1) and then goes on for the next six verses about how the brilliance of the sunrise and starry nights speak of God’s greatness. Then, the psalmist moves to extolling God’s Word in the next five verses as perfect, trustworthy, right, clear, insightful and true (Psalm 19:7-11).
After establishing that God is powerful and creative and that God’s Word is perceptive and true, the psalmist turns to the inner workings of his own life. “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?” Even the apostle Paul admitted that “The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate” (Romans 7:14-15, NLT). We don’t always understand why we do what we do because we don’t really understand ourselves.
But, our all-powerful God has insight into us that we can only gain through Him. God doesn’t reveal our brokenness to give an excuse for bad behavior. God shows us our hurt so He can heal it. This isn’t an abracadabra, poof, you’re healed sort of deal. Often we have to work through the things that we’d rather forget about. And, we can get stuck on the smallest things.
“I’m never going to be like my mother.” “I’m not going to let their abusive words define me.” “I’m never going to let someone take advantage of me again.” “I can’t trust anyone except myself.” We can run, but we can’t hide. Until the light of God’s truth shines into these dark places in our minds, we cannot be healed.
Our pain can either be the greatest source of our sin and shame or it can be the greatest point of God’s grace and even ministry to others. Open wounds continue to bleed. The pain of our past continues to punish people for the sins of others. Their ungodly actions toward us fuel our ungodly actions and attitudes toward others.
But, when our wounds are healed, every scar is a testimony to God’s grace. What was once a source of shame is now an avenue of God’s grace to us and to others.
One of my favorite verses in the Bible (if that’s legal) is Genesis 50:20 – “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” God never wastes a hurt.
What part of you needs God’s healing touch? How have you received God’s grace? How can you offer comfort to others with the comfort you’ve received (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)?
Now, to avoid future sin, the psalmist closes with a prayer that I pray frequently: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be please, Lord to you.” That’s a good way to start the day.
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