The Bible tells us David committed adultery with a soldier’s wife, then had the innocent man killed to cover up the act. While I haven’t walked in David’s sandals, I do know what it’s like to feel guilt and shame over what I’ve done … or haven’t done.
Guilt wraps its way around your mind and heart until it chokes out the truth. You avoid people, situations and places. Embarrassment leads you into disobedience. I know you have all heard these things play in your mind:
-He’ll never forgive you.
-You’re the worst mother on the planet.
-What kind of Christian does that?
-Just give up; you’ll never do better.
After David had performed this sinful deed, he could have given up trying to be a man of God. Who would respect him after such shameful behavior? But David didn’t give up.
Rather than pulling back from life, he pressed towards God.
And God forgave David and continued to use him for years. God took him from a shepherd’s field to the king’s throne.
Half of David’s situation is common. We all make mistakes. We all fall short. We all need a Savior. The other half, the redemption, isn’t so common. Too many people sit on the sidelines after a wrong choice, guilt-ridden and convinced they are disqualified from service. So why was David’s story different? How was David restored to a position of honor and respect after behaving so shamefully?
The answer is whispered and shouted throughout the book of Psalms. We hear it in David’s prayers and poems. Rather than living with a sentence of guilt, David chose to be grateful. He turned attention from himself to His God – and that changed everything.
David sought God’s forgiveness with a sincere heart (Psalm 51). He had to truly repent. But then, his focus turned to thankfulness. Psalm 116 records David’s words: “O LORD, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, born into your household; you have freed me from my chains. I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the LORD.” (vs. 16 & 17)
Thankfulness is hard to come by when we feel like the scum of the earth. It feels like a sacrifice to offer praise instead of allowing our hearts to sink into self-pity with thoughts like, “I’ll never change.” “I’m such a failure.”
Gratefulness changes my perspective and opens my heart to the truth. And it’s your truth as well. Jesus has already paid the price for our sins, so we don’t have to pay it every day through guilt. When we humbly seek His forgiveness (and the forgiveness of others when necessary) our sins are forgiven. Through Christ’s sacrifice we are set free.
Dear Lord, today I desperately need Your forgiveness. Please forgive me for what I’ve done and what I’ve not done. Help me to exchange the lies of the enemy for Your truth. Create a clean spirit within me so that I can serve You all the days of my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.