Read Psalm 51:1-19
Adultery and murder. Most people consider those to be two of the “biggies.” You find them on God’s list of top ten things not to do (Ex. 20). Have you ever done either? Both? David had. (See 2 Samuel 12:1-14.) What about you? That’s a pretty personal question. Thankfully, I am asking it through words on a page or a screen, not in person. Gratefully, I am not asking you to hit reply, jot a note, or make a phone call with your answer. I already know your answer. According to Jesus, adultery includes a lustful look and murder is as simple as spiteful, angry words spoken to another. (Check out these and other sins in Matthew 5.) At some point, all of us are guilty.
But, whether our sin is adultery, murder, or some “lesser” transgression, there comes the question of life after sin. What does that life look like? Is it a life of guilt? Should it be a life spent in penance trying to make up for the past? David’s words of confession, written in the aftermath of his own sin, remind us that cleansing and forgiveness are ours for the asking. When we confess, His forgiveness is complete.
That’s not all! Life after confession of sin can also be a life of joy, gladness, and rejoicing (vv. 8, 12). Your days need not be governed by guilt. Your face can be one that genuinely smiles. You can enjoy a hearty belly laugh. It is not just okay but expected that you will find yourself belting out songs of praise to the Lord in your car. You can lay your head on your pillow at night in peace, without having to revisit the stupidity of your past for the umpteenth time.
One more thing — life after confession includes meaningful service. David looked forward to leveraging his influence and opportunities in order to teach transgressors the ways of God and to bring other sinners to repentance (v. 13). Though our sin may impact the nature of our future ministry, God doesn’t place us in the stands as a spectator after He forgives us. He keeps us on the field as key players in a game designed to bring Him honor and others to full devotion.