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.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
Psalm 51: 1-4
The sun glimmered on the leaves near us and the birds tweeted—God had given us a wonderful new day. We trudged up the stairs to our eight o’clock class, and then I spoiled it all by saying something stupid about a girl down our hall in the dorm.
On cue, a bird pooped on my head. My roommate laughed hysterically, and the girl I was gossiping about turned and gave me her evil eye. I hadn’t even noticed she was ahead of us on the stairs.
As I ran to the restroom to clean up, I’m sure I didn’t ask for forgiveness. Back then, I should have cleaned it up with the girl I slandered and with my holy God, who hates sin. Because gossip is a sin.
King David, who wrote the verses above, is known for killing a giant for God and his people. David is also known as a person who served God with his whole heart and did what God wanted him to do—except when he didn’t.
David penned these verses after Nathan, the prophet, confronted him about his betrayal of his wife with a woman he lusted after—a woman whose husband he had killed to cover up his affair. In this passage, David asks God to wash away his iniquity (sin) and also says that his sin is always before him. I admit, it is easy for me to say that David sinned a big-time sin and then justify my sin when I gossip.
Even when poop doesn’t rain down on my head, I usually begin to realize when I hurt God and others because of my sin. As I write this, I also realize how easy it is to attribute bigger and smaller weights to different kinds of wrongdoing.
However, God doesn’t see it that way. For Him, a sin is a sin.
Slander is a sin, even when someone isn’t caught red-handed like me. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much that he sent Jesus to live among us, to be tempted like all of us and never sin; imagine that for a moment—He took the weight of sin on Himself. Jesus died for his disciples, for you and me, to make us acceptable to our Holy God.
The Rooted curriculum states that “we gain freedom by renouncing and repenting of sin that has allowed strongholds to develop in our lives.” Because we still walk on this planet, we will sin. As our relationship with Jesus grows, we confess, and He is always faithful to forgive. God will help us break our strongholds.