(Part 115)


January 17, 2015

Today’s psalm:  Psalm 19:8-15

There are some intriguing aspects in today’s psalm reading. First it says, “Who can detect trespasses? Cleanse me from my inadvertent sins.” (v.13). Many today of course no longer even care if they sin. Many also do not know enough about morality to know when they do sin. But today many good people who believe they are living Christian lives may actually be living in sin. In fact, all of us indeed are sinners. But are we aware of these sins? People gossip, think bad thoughts about others, hold grudges in their hearts, speak ill about enemies, neglect to help the poor, and so on, but do not think these are necessarily sinful. But they are.

Let us take one particular example cited in this psalm. “Also from arrogant ones restrain your servant; let them never control me. Then shall I be blameless, innocent of grave sin.” (v.14). In the face of arrogance, we find it all right to respond with disdain, antagonism and rejection. Does the other person care? No, for he indeed is arrogant, unmindful and uncaring about what others think of him. But who is bothered? Us! And we end up being controlled–by negativity, anger, being judgmental, a lack of peace.

But that’s not all. We look on the arrogant person as a sinner. But if we are not restrained in our response, then we end up being the sinner. We fail to love, especially an enemy. We see the splinter but miss the plank in our own eye. We judge, and so we will be judged. Whatever is the sin of the other person, as far as God is concerned, it is about us. We are not blameless. We might even be into grave sin.

What does this all say? We who are trying to be and do good, who are not arrogant, we are the ones in sin? This can only be understood in light of God’s call to perfection. As David prays, “Let the words of my mouth be acceptable, the thoughts of my heart before you, Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (v.15). We are judged not in comparison to the greater sinner that is the other person. It is simply between us and the Lord. And our lives are to manifest the reality that we are redeemed, that we base our lives on he who is Rock. All the words that come out of our mouths and all the thoughts that remain in our hearts must be conformed to Christ.

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