Monday, July 25, 2016
Just a Sinner
David could have spoken of himself in a lot of different ways. Son of Jesse. Shepherd. Giant Slayer. Friend. Leader of men. Father. Husband. King. Power Broker. But, in the 25th Psalm he uses none of these titles. What is interesting is that he identifies himself, or speaks of himself, as a sinner three separate times. "Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions..." he prays. (vs. 7) In another place we hear him praying, "..pardon my guilt, for it is great." (vs. 11) And finally, he prays, "Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins." (vs. 18) David was not a perfect man, but at least in this moment of praying to God, he was a man who was seeking to be transparent, real, and honest before the God who was hearing his prayers.
It may seem a bit odd to many of this day and age to continually speak of oneself as a sinner. The value in doing so can be found in those who attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. As each one speaks, he or she begins by saying, "I am John and I am an alcoholic." The person speaking may be a bank president, doctor, nurse, or ditch digger, but in that moment reality demands speaking of oneself as an alcoholic. To do so helps keeps each one in the real world that is their actual life. It is really not any different for any of us who know both the name folks call us and the one we know ourselves to be. We are sinners. I am Bill and I am a sinner.
To live within such a reality is not an exercise in personal debasement, but a step toward wholeness. David knew his own brokenness. Each of us knows ours. We do not need someone else to call it out for us. We know. More importantly, God knows. And there is something about our honesty about who we really are that opens our life to God's mercy and our own wholeness. Speak the words. "Lord, I am sinner. Lord, I am a sinner." Speak it until it finally strikes home in your soul and know the peace and mercy God gives to every one who is willing to come to terms with who he or she really is.