When You Know You’ve Blown It

Good Shepherd

A sermon idea based on Psalm 51:1-10.

Psalm 51:1-10 NRSV

[1] Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. [2] Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

[3] For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. [4] Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment. [5] Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. [6] You desire truth in the inward being; therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.

[7] Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. [8] Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have crushed rejoice. [9] Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. [10] Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.


The relevant topic I would be addressing, based on this text…

The pathway to health and restoration will always be through confession, repentance, and renewed trust in God as the giver of life and grace.


Information about the text that matters to the message…

In our eyes, David had sinned against Bathsheba, against Uriah, and against the people of Israel. But in his prayer, he proclaims to God, “Against you, you alone, have I sinned…” What’s that all about?

While we can definitely “sin against” other people and bring harm even to those we love most by our sinful choices, no other human actually establishes the standard for what is or is not “sin.” God alone is truly righteous and holy, so when we commit unrighteousness, we have ultimately violated God’s standards. We’ve fallen short of his ideal for us.

If you want to experience the richness of the grace of God in your life, there are some portions of David’s prayer you can take to heart and practice in your own communion with God.

  • Acknowledge that God can and will forgive and cleanse you.
  • Own all of the responsibility for your sinful choices, covering nothing.
  • Recognize that God has every right to bring judgment against sin.
  • Adopt a posture of humility, recognizing your sinful flaws.
  • Ask God for forgiveness, cleansing, and healing.
  • Believe that God can restore your joy again.
  • Trust God’s ability to make you brand new again. And again. And again.

It’s vital that we be honest with God, not because he doesn’t already know our faults (he certainly does), but because it is only through honesty that we can become whole and healthy again. All of our relationships, at their core, are dependent on mutual trust and transparency.


The big call-to-action in the message…

What sin in your life needs to be brought into the light of God’s truth and judgment? What do you need to offer to him? And can you find the ability to trust God for his forgiveness on the basis of the cross as the evidence of God’s willingness to show grace?

Appreciate these notes?
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About the Cover Art: Tanner, Henry Ossawa, 1859-1937. Good Shepherd, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.

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