I was looking through The Mountain Mail newspaper this week, and several headlines struck me: “Sheriff’s office make five arrests this week,” “Salida police make arrests for DUI, identity theft.” Then there was an article on the dangers of vaping, yet so many are determined to do whatever they want, even when they know it’s wrong.
If you are honest, you, too, have been involved in wrongdoings that create shame or perhaps even disgust in you. Why do we always seem to wind up doing things that we know are wrong?
Psalm 51 was written after a sordid, adulterous affair King David had with Bathsheba. When he found out Bathsheba was pregnant, her husband was sent out to battle. A very brave man, he waded into the fight with the enemy. David ordered his men to withdraw support to Bathsheba’s husband, and he died at the enemies’ hands. A preacher/prophet was sent by God to King David. He was confronted with his sins of adultery, as well as the murder of her husband.
I have good news for you. There is a way out of those grievous “sins” we mess our lives up with. You ask: “What is sin?” Sin is anything that keeps you from having an easy, nonstrained talk and relationship with God.
Here is a perfect example of David, a king, who “got it right” with God. He writes these words in the New Living Translation of the Bible: “Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin.
“For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. I have done evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner – yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
David goes on to say, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” (This is a portion of the prayer King David prayed in Psalm 51 NLT.)
It is a very humbling thing to have your mistakes, well … let’s be honest, “sins” pointed out to you.
I have the best of news for you. There is a way out. There is a way to be clean. A chance to start over again. No matter who you are or what you have done, Jesus died so he could give you this promise: “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” – 1 John 1:9 NLT.
What joy, what a feeling of clean we have, when we acknowledge, “Oh, God I have sinned. I don’t know why I did what I have done, but I’m coming to you. I repent. I want to be clean and stay clean in your sight. Please forgive me. I know I don’t deserve forgiveness, but this one thing I ask in faith: forgive me. I want a relationship with you as long as I live.”
The Rev. Stan Rutkowski is pastor of Living Waters Church in Salida.