Sin can paralyze.
There are weeks when I come to worship with a conceptual understanding of original sin and even my own individual guilt, but it’s only words. I can say, “I’m a sinner” but looking back on my week, I might not be able to recall an actual sin act. It’s not because I didn’t sin; it’s because I was a little too busy being self-righteous to notice.
This Friday, I feel more like David when he wrote Psalm 51. (No, by God’s grace, I didn’t sleep with some guy’s wife and then have him murdered.) But I definitely relate to David’s attitude this week. When he wrote this Psalm, he was aware of his sin, and aware of how sin had turned his heart away from worship. Part of his cry to the Lord is to have worship restored in his heart. He doesn’t want shame to drive him away from the compassionate grace of his loving Father. He pleads for mercy on the basis of God’s unfailing love and not on the basis of his own reputation or record. It’s a good thing too because neither of those would stand before God’s holiness.
David was filled with grief about his sin. When a relationship is broken, I have a tendency to avoid the person and wallow in my own grief. Sometimes, when I sin, I feel like my relationship with God has been broken and I can’t go back to him in prayer or in worship. Sometimes worship seems so wrong, so awkward. Like an awkward conversation with an ex-girlfriend. It feels so weird. I guess there’s nothing to do in that situation but cry out to God and appeal to his unfailing love. This weekend, my cry is, “open my lips.”
Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.