He was the leader of the world’s only superpower. He had subdued enemies, conquered lands, captured cities, built spectacular palaces, and oversaw a thriving economy.
And then one day things went sideways. And before it was all over he could add to his accomplishments adultery, treachery, betrayal, and murder.
His name was David, King of Israel. Most people know the story: He slept with and impregnated his neighbor’s wife, and after a hastily planned scheme to cover up the consequences failed, he orchestrated her husband’s death.
You don’t have to agree with David’s actions to understand how they came about. Hopefully we’ve not been down the path that led to adultery and murder, but we’ve all been down paths where we would never have ventured with a clear head.
But here’s what I want you to see about David: When he finally came to himself, David called it like it was.
David’s prayer following the fallout from his actions is the prayer of a broken man who was done with maneuvering and making excuses.
See, we need to be honest with God in our confessions.
We need to learn to say simply, “I sinned against You.”
I didn’t ‘have a weak moment.’ I didn’t ‘make a mistake.’ I didn’t ‘falter’ or ‘stumble’ or ‘lose a battle.’
These phrases are accurate, and in proper perspective can help us press forward. Because our weaknesses combined with the barrage of influences we face, sometimes lead to bad choices. We can’t live a perfect life, and God will never give up on us (even after all this, David’s character is still immortalized as “A man after God’s own heart”).
But the duck test says “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck”
Like David, we need to learn to be raw and honest with God and say,
“For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me. Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight” (Psalm 51:3-4).
When he says “against You only have I sinned,” he’s not dismissing the fact that other people were hurt by his sin. In this case Uriah, Bathsheba, the unborn baby, and many others close to them, were hurt terribly by his choices.
But it was primarily God against whom he sinned.
Every sin is first and foremost an offense against a holy God.
So let’s be careful to maintain balance. We can’t spend our time condemning ourselves for our mistakes, wailing and wallowing in our filth, expecting ourselves to live the perfect life and never slip up. But we also can’t use our flawed humanity to smooth over or minimize the fact that we hurt God and others by our actions.
Living like new means constantly renewing our mind and spirit through self-inspection, confession, and trusting that God lifts the penalty for that sin from us.
It’s “Freedom 360” – freedom from excuse-making and freedom from condemnation.
It’s a package deal.