don’t punish me when you are angry;
don’t discipline me when you are furious.
2 Have mercy on me, Lord,
because I’m frail.
Heal me, Lord,
because my bones are shaking in terror!
I sin everyday. I try not to sin and try to do good; but none-the-less, sin, in my life, is inevitable. Just last week I robbed a bank…
Actually, I try to keep the “big sins” at bay. Of course, sin is sin, and no one sin is “bigger” than the other in God’s eye. However, man doesn’t feel quite the same, and that’s why I don’t rob banks! Also, I’m sure the orange jump-suit would clash with my hair! (smile)
There’s scripture in the Bible that speaks of “besetting sins.” Hebrews 12:1 says, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Dictionary.com defines besetting as:
David was a sinner just like us. In today’s scripture we find David distraught over his sin, and praying to God. David knows he has done wrong and is aware of God’s chastening hand. And so like any kid before a spanking, he’s reasoning with his parent. In today’s terminology David’s prayer would go something like this, and I paraphrase, “Daddy, I know I’m gonna get it, but please don’t do it when you’re mad. I’m only a kid and I’m so scared. Please take it easy on me, I promise to do better.”
I didn’t get many “whippings” growing up, but I remember the time when I got two in one day. I always tried to be a good girl and was most of the time; however, I was born with a healthy dose of mischievousness, and curiosity often got the better of me.
We lived down a quiet, dead-end dirt road out in the country. One day, my Mom went on an errand, but before she left, she walked me across the dirt road, that separated our house and grandma’s house, and left me there to stay while she “went to town.” After a while, a five year old mischievous girl gets bored, and of course they start looking for something fun to do. Well, I was curious as to what lay beyond the forest that bordered my grandma’s backyard. And so, Todd, my cousin…and partner in crime, and I set off on an exploration. We walked deep into the woods and didn’t stop until we came to a creek bed filled with deep flowing water.
Straight-away we hopped upon rotted logs and begin to navigate our “boats” upon the water. Of course it was better if you laid on your tummy, that way you could paddle with both your hands and feet. That’s exactly what I did. After a while, we realized it had gotten late, and so we headed back, dripping wet, toward grandmas. As we neared the house we heard something that sounded like a voice echoing in the breeze. The closer we got to grandma’s the louder the voice got. When I realized it was my grandmother calling out to us, my tummy dropped, because I knew we were in trouble. I may have only been five years old, but I was old enough to recognize the fear in my grandmother’s voice. It wasn’t too long afterward, I found myself bent over her knee, getting my wet fanny spanked. Of course grandma told my mom, and so when she and I walked hand-in-hand across the dirt road, my mom stopped at the nearest Lilac bush, broke off a small “switch” and switched my little legs.
I still laugh when I think about it. Looking back, and thinking about the danger we had put ourselves in, I would have done the same thing to one of my children. You know, I truly don’t remember any pain from the spankings; however, the shame is still fresh in my mind. I felt guilty that I had done something that had frightened my mom and grandmother so much. After that “double-whammy day” I never got another spanking.
None of us like to be disciplined, but sometimes there’s just no getting around it. If done in the right way, it’s actually good for us. When I give in to one of those besetting sins, I’m convicted and when I’m convicted I feel guilt. It weighs heavy on my heart and the longer I carry it the heavier it feels. I ponder, long and hard, over what I did wrong, I beat myself up and call myself stupid and dumb. My self-worth takes a nose dive, and I feel awful.
As Christians we don’t have to carry that burden. Our Father, in his love for us, provided a way to relieve us from all our guilt and shame. He woos us to come and to give it to Him. He doesn’t want us to walk around with that stuff. He wants us to have peace and joy. He knew, before we were born, we would sin and sin a lot; and yet, He still chose us to be his children.
David in verse two cries out out to his Father, “Have mercy on me Lord for I am frail…” God knows we are but humans made from dust. He knows everyone of our weaknesses and loves us any way. I John 1:9 assures us, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness.” All we have to do is ask for forgiveness. In fact once we ask for forgiveness He no longer remembers our sin. Psalms 103:12 tells us, “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
If God no longer remembers our confessed sins, then don’t you think we should stop punishing ourselves as well? Give the guilt and shame to him and accept his free gift of Mercy today.
My Prayer: Lord, I sin everyday. Sometimes I’m selfish. Sometimes I’m lazy. Sometimes I eat more than I should. Sometimes I gossip. Sometimes I say and think things I shouldn’t, and sometimes I lash out in anger. Father, I’m truly sorry and ask for your forgiveness. Thank you for your Mercy. Help me to stop punishing myself. Remind me, often, of the forgiveness and freedom I have in Christ. I love you, Lord. Amen.