“Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV
Anyone who knows me (by this I mean anyone who has seen my closet) would tell you that I am not tidy. Ok, they would tell you I’m pretty messy. For some reason I am unable to work on a project unless all the inner workings of the project are exposed. For example, when I’m writing I have hand written notes and several books surrounding my computer; when I cook I have everything out on the counter; when I get ready in the morning my bathroom counter is cluttered with makeup, lotion, hair product and jewelry and my bedroom is usually littered with clothes I am “in the process” of cleaning, putting away or deciding whether or not to keep.
However, this way of living has consequences. Sometimes when I come home I am overwhelmed by all the “little” messes I’ve made during the week. Dishes, crumbs, papers, books, clothes, oh my! How did this house get so messy? Answer: A little at a time. Similarly, when we find ourselves in a spiritual mess of our own making, suffering the consequences of a mountain of small rebellions, we too are overwhelmed. How did my heart get so hard? Answer: A little at a time. Surprisingly, the solution to both problems (messy house and messy heart) are the same. How is my house going to get clean? By repentance, or turning 180° away from the direction I was going (bigger mess) and into the opposite direction (putting things in order). How is my heart going to be cleansed? You guessed it — Repentance!
Of course, some people may object to this observation because they know they have been fully forgiven when they accepted Christ as their Savior, which is true. However, in the same way I fail to clean my messes until I recognize the chaos all around me, we do not bring all our heart messes to God until we recognize they exist and are overwhelmed with grief and Godly sorrow that leads to repentance. Because of the blood of Jesus we are already forgiven but not restored. David understood this to be true. His little messes turned into a mountain of rebellion when each decision David made in opposition to God caused chaos in his life and the lives of those around him. Because of this, his heart was hard and his attitude harsh until Nathan, God’s messenger, confronted David. Only then did he recognize the overwhelming mess. David’s 180° turn away from his sin led him straight into the arms of God where David appropriated God’s gift of forgiveness. Through it all his relationship with the LORD was strengthened and his heart forever changed, which is testimony to God’s faithfulness and redemptive heart toward His children.
Psalm 51 was birthed from David’s repentant heart. I’ll leave you with the beautiful reality of our gracious God who longs for intimacy with every one of His “Messy Me’s” as He turns our messes into milestones of His grace and intimate love for you and me.
A psalm of David.
When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 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.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.
18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.