Remorse. The honest tears of a servant of God.

written in November 2015

 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.

 Psalm 51:1-2

King David wrote this after Nathan the prophet confronted him about his sins. Not only had David committed adultery with Bathsheba, but he saw to it that her husband would die in battle.  He must have suffered greatly as the severity of his wrong-doing sank in. When he fully realized what he had done, he cried out to God, “Have mercy on me, O God!”

I’ve often found myself going to Psalm 51 when I’ve done something for which I’m very sorry. When I feel ashamed of what I’ve done or how I’ve behaved, even when the behavior was out of my control. When one suffers from bipolar disorder as well as other mental health issues, unfortunate behavior can happen. It causes a lot of trouble and takes its toll on one’s reputation. At times like that I wonder: Will people ever believe in me again? Will my good points be remembered? Does anyone still love me?

I too cry, “Have mercy on me! . . . Wash away my iniquity! . . . cleanse me!” David begged for God’s unfailing love and compassion to help wipe away the wrong he had done. When bad things happen by my hand, I too long for that love and compassion that mercy brings. I long for the compassion of the people I have wronged. I so much need their understanding and forgiveness. I want them to remember the good I’ve done and the good I continue trying to do.

To live day after day being thought ill of, is the most painful thing I know of. Have you ever felt emotional pain so great that it becomes intolerable? What can one do with something like that? There is no pill to take the pain away. Sometimes doing things to distract yourself helps. But that’s only a temporary fix.

The best thing, really, is to go to God, isn’t it? To cry out to Him and tell Him how you feel.  There’s no one but God you can talk to like that. I can’t see God and often prefer to unload my pain on friends and counsellors. But God is really the only listener who will hear me when I cry out “Have mercy on me!” He, not people, has the power to cleanse me. He has more compassion than anyone. His love will not fail us, no matter what.

With David I pray:

“Create in me a pure heart, O God,

and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

I read David’s Psalm 51 over and over. It relieves the pain somewhat. I feel God with me and I know He hears me.