O.J. Simpson’s “Trial of the Century” fascinated the country more than 20 years ago. Then it was shocked when he was acquitted in criminal court (later convicted in civil court). Now that a potential murder weapon has surfaced, people are wondering if true justice will be served in the 1994 murder of O.J.’s wife, Nicole, and her alleged boyfriend, Ron Goldman. At the point of this writing, we do not know of the knife’s credibility, but we do have confidence that every crime and sin will eventually come to light in heaven’s courtroom.
Another scandalous episode of adultery, murder and cover-up happened 3,000 years ago. Israel’s favorite king used the powers of his office to seduce another man’s wife. David surreptitiously arranged for her husband’s death on the battlefield to cover it up. Psalm 32 is King David’s confessions of these crimes, and Psalm 51 is the sequel to it.
Like David, all pastors and leaders have weaknesses and temptations. Often we feel defeated and trapped, yet secretly we want deliverance. David’s dilemma begs four big questions that we need to ask ourselves regularly.
Are My Sins Being Covered-Up or Covered?
How joyful is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!…Then I acknowledged my sin to You and did not conceal my iniquity (Ps. 32:1,5a).
Our desire to conceal our sin can be traced back to Adam and Eve who vainly tried to hide from the omnipresent God. Fearing consequences is normal, but running from the One who loves us most doesn’t make any sense. What sin are you covering up that needs to be covered by the blood of Jesus? Confessing sin is your part; covering sin is God’s.
He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy (Prov. 28:13).
Will My Confession Lead to Repentance or Remorse?
For a whole year David tried to conceal his sin (Ps. 38), but he only grew more miserable. Finally, he relented and repented publicly. Not all confessions need to be public. It has been said, “The circle of confession should be as broad as the circle of offense.”
I said, “I will confess my transgression to the LORD,” and You took away the guilt of my sin (Ps. 32:5b).
Confess by admitting you have a problem and are hopeless so solve it alone.
Change your ways, not just your mind. Do you just want forgiveness or do you really want deliverance? Prove it by making substantive changes. David and Saul both confessed their respective sins, but only David actually repented/changed.
Will My Sins Control or Be Controlled?
John Belushi hired a bodyguard to protect him from…himself. Despite that, he eventually died of a cocaine overdose. A pastor’s greatest bodyguard lives within. There is no stronghold too strong for someone whose body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Many pastors get stuck in a cycle of sin, sometimes to the eventual ruin of their ministry. In a Christianity Today survey, among clergy that regularly use porn, only 30% have reached out for any help. Only 1:4 pastors consider themselves accountable to someone.
Are you stronger than King David? Pride keeps many pastors in the closet of sin. Accepting help from Jesus and His bride takes courage and humility.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise (Ps. 51:17).
Will I Accept God’s Gift of Forgiveness?
Blot out my rebellion. Wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin (Psalm 51:1b-2).
The ancients used non-acid ink on papyrus, which could easily be washed/erased and reused. Do you need to turn over a new leaf, or have the old leaf wiped clean? Sin leaves a stain that only God can clean, so why not let Him?
When pastors choose to confess their sins instead of concealing them, we live out the gospel of grace we proclaim.