Against you7. Against you

    Against you, you alone, have I sinned”     – Psalm 51:4a

I have to say that I’m a bit troubled by this first part of verse 4 today.   I appreciate the notion, the essential notion, that our sins are sins against God.  Undoubtedly.  But if we consider this Psalm in its traditional setting — that of David praying to God after being confronted with his actions against Bathsheba — I can’t help wondering how Bathsheba would take this verse, and especially the “you alone” part.  Would she feel as though she had just been dehumanized and abused again?  Having been violated by David (I would say raped) and having her husband essentially murdered on David’s orders, is it enough for David to confess to God alone?

I’m not a big fan of the Egyptian Pharaoh of Moses’ time — his word (or actions) never proved to be very good — but at least he struck a bit of balance in his confessing:

 The locusts came upon all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt . . . Pharaoh hurriedly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the LORD your God, and against you.  Do forgive my sin just this once, and pray to the LORD your God that at the least he remove this deadly thing from me.”    (Exodus 10:14-17 NRS)

Presumably more sincerely, the people of Israel had the decency to say the following to Moses after they had rebelled (once again) against him and God:

The people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned by speaking against the LORD and against you; pray to the LORD to take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.   (Numbers 21:7)

As we consider the sins in our life today, and how those sins have impacted others, will we have the courage and decency to not simply offer a confession to God, but then also to speak the needed words directly to those we have wronged?   We remember that Jesus said, So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you,  leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.   (Mat 5:23-24)

Someone told me recently how they got a phone call from an old college roommate.  After 30 years, the roommate was calling to apologize for some of their behavior from those college days.   It’s never too late.



Gracious God,

We pause to confess to you today the ways in which we have sinned against you.  But we have not just sinned against you, we have sinned against [insert names].  Help us to make amends with those we have injured or offended, remembering that in Lord Jesus we ourselves have already been richly forgiven.