Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.Psalm 51:1-2
We may read this scripture and think it is saying the same thing in three ways. But it is not. To sin is to miss the mark, to fall short of the glory of God. To transgress is to choose to intentionally disobey. It is willfully stepping over the line. We see a very clear example of this in the story of David and Bathsheba. David should not have been looking at Bathsheba while she was bathing. He willfully stepped over the line of guarding his heart and eyes and it led to the sin of an affair with Bathsheba, which led to iniquity. Iniquity is a premeditated choice. David planned out how to to kill Bathsheba’s husband. Yikes.
This scripture is literally covering everything.
It was actually written after the prophet, Nathan, came to David to call him out for his sin with Bathsheba and the iniquity of having her husband killed. David was broken down completely before God. He laid it all out and said, “God, I did this. I stepped over the line. I transgressed, then I sinned, then in my iniquity I literally had a man killed. But I know those things aren’t too much for You, Lord. Forgive me, please, have mercy on me.” He even goes on to say that he realizes his sins are really only against God, when all God wants from us is faithfulness. Ouch. When we look at our choices in light of that, in light of what God wants from us, in light of who our behavior honors or goes against, it should cause us to pause.
I mean, He is merciful.
He does forgive. But when does our own transgression, sin and iniquity build a wall so big that we are able to pretend He’s not even there? He never walks away from us in our sin. But we run from Him. And we could run so fast and far that we don’t look back.
I am grateful that somehow He has made me able to see over the walls I have built with my own sin. I have been able to hear God calling me back from my own messes. I pray that every time I add a brick to those walls I am aware enough to pull it back down. My prayer is the same for my children, because they will sin. They will cross lines and make poor choices. It is inevitable. We all do. So pray for those you love, ask God to send people like Nathan to call them out and call them up.
And pray for yourself, too.
Not sure how? Here’s a prayer you can use:
Lord, forgive me of every transgression, every sin, every iniquity. Keep me close to You, Lord. I do not want to live this life without Your presence. Moses knew the promised land was nothing if You didn't go with them. I know that my life is nothing if You aren't leading me. And for ___________, Lord, would you send a Nathan to help them see where they are missing it? Would you have mercy on them, God? Bring them to repentance and forgiveness, In Jesus' Name.