by Brandon McCoy
Everyone messes up! Take David for example, one of the greatest men in the bible, a man after God’s heart. A man of God through and through! Through his faith in God, slayed a giant and became a king. He wasn’t a perfect man, but he loved God and tried to do His will. But even David messed up. 2 Samuel 11 tells us the story of David and Bethsheba. I’m sure you all know the story, but this is where he takes his friend’s (Uriah’s) wife and sleeps with her while he is away at war. After learning of her pregnancy, David sent for Uriah to come home hoping Uriah would sleep with Bethsheba which would hide his sin so no one would know. Uriah, being a nobleman, would not go home to the comforts of his own house while everyone he knew was on the battlefield. As we all know, David decided to have him killed, because of his guilt. Now, not only did David sleep with another man’s wife, but he murdered him.
Oh, the guilt he felt after it was all done! He stopped talking to God for all the shame he felt. He went a long time not confessing to anyone! He stopped talking to God because of the sheer ache in his soul. But God loved David, just like He loves us all, and didn’t want this act to separate David from Himself. God decided to send the prophet Nathan to help set things right.
2 Samuel 12: 1-7 (NKJV) 1. Then the Lord sent Nathan to David. And he came to him and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor. 2. The rich man had exceedingly many flocks and herds. 3. But the poor man had nothing, except one little ewe lamb which he had bought and nourished; and it grew up together with him and with his children. It ate of his own food and drank from his own cup and lay in his bosom; and it was like a daughter to him. 4. And a traveler came to the rich man, who refused to take from his own flock and from his own herd to prepare for the wayfaring man who had come to him; but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5. So David’s anger was greatly aroused against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this shall surely die! 6. And he shall restore fourfold for the lamb, because he did this thing and because he had no pity.” 7. Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man!”…
Finally, someone knows his secret! God knew his secret all along, and it took God telling Nathan so it would come back to David to put it right in his heart that God doesn’t miss anything and He is willing to forgive if you ask and let it go. David came back to God after this and wrote a couple of Psalms about it. Psalms 51 directly after his confrontation with Nathan and Psalms 32 sometime later.
After a confrontation with Nathan, asking forgiveness. Psalms 51
- Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. 2. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3. For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4. Against You, You only, have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight- that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge. 5. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin, my mother conceived me. 6. Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. 7. Purge me with hyssop (Ezov-small plant with an aromatic odor), and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8. Make me hear joy and gladness, that the bones you have broken may rejoice. 9. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 10. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You.
You don’t have to confess your wrongdoings to man, but if you don’t confess your wrongdoings to God (Who already knows anyway), you will continue to live with the pain of guilt. Look at the difference in David’s writing after he confessed to God.
After confession to God. Psalms 32
- Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute (see to posses) iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3. When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all day long. 4. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. 5. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. 6. For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found; surely in a flood of great waters they shall not come near him. 7. You are my hiding place; You shall preserve me from trouble; You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. 8. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye. 9. Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you. 10. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him. 11. Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, you righteous; and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!
Oh, the difference! You can see the pain and suffering is gone! What a mighty God we serve! As far as I can tell, only David, Bathsheba, Nathan, General Joab, and God knew about what transpired with Uriah. You don’t need to confess your guilt to those outside of what happened, confess it to God, repent, and He will make things right! Give it to God and let it go. One story…
One of the tragic occurrences in life is that people lose limbs. But their loss can be made even more severe if they develop phantom limb pain. Phantom limb pain occurs when the patient’s brain acts as though the limb still exists. The amputee may have the perception of an itch on the lost limb even though there is no limb to scratch; may feel toes curling, and may even feel tremendous pain in their nonexistent limb. Dr. Paul Brand tells of one of his patients, a Mr. Barwick, who had a serious and painful circulation problem in his leg. The doctors recommended amputation but Mr. Barwick refused. Finally, the pain became too intense and Mr. Barwick agreed to the operation. In the lead, up to the operation Mr. Barwick grew to hate that leg of his, so much so that he asked the doctor to preserve it for him in a pickling jar. He planned to place it on his mantelpiece and then sit in his armchair and taunt it saying, “Hah! You can’t hurt me anymore!” The doctor followed Mr. Barwick’s instructions but sadly it was the leg that got the last laugh. You see Mr. Barwick developed a severe case of phantom limb pain. He had hated the leg with such intensity that the pain of the wound lodged permanently in his brain. Dr. Brand suggests that “Phantom limb pain provides a wonderful insight into the phenomenon of false guilt. Christians can be obsessed with the memory of some sin committed years ago. It never leaves them, crippling their ministry, their devotional life, and their relationships with others. They live in fear that someone will discover their past. They work overtime trying to prove to God that they’re truly repentant. They become as pitiful as poor Mr. Barwick, shaking his fist in fury at the pickled leg on the mantle,” – Dr Paul Brand and Philip Yancey
The longer you hold onto your guilt, without confession to God, the longer it will stick with you after confession. God will have forgiven you, but it will be harder for YOU to let it leave. It is best to confess now and trust in the Lord now, then have years of unnecessary agony.