Hunkered Down Devotion

Psalm 32: 1-5 (Voice)
1 How happy is the one whose wrongs are forgiven,  whose sin is hidden from sight.
2 How happy is the person whose sin the Eternal will not take into account.[b]  
 How happy are those who no longer lie, to themselves or others.
3 When I refused to admit my wrongs, I was miserable, moaning and complaining all day long so that even my bones felt brittle.
4 Day and night, Your hand kept pressing on me.  My strength dried up like water in the summer heat; You wore me down.  
5 When I finally saw my own lies,  I owned up to my sins before You, and I did not try to hide my evil deeds from You.
I said to myself, “I’ll admit all my sins to the Eternal,” and You lifted and carried away the guilt of my sin.

In the movie "The Usual Suspects", in the middle of an interrogation, the main detective in the story explains how you can tell the difference between someone who’s guilty and someone who isn’t.  He says, ‘Let's say you arrest three guys for the same killing. You put them all in jail overnight. The next morning, whoever's sleeping is your man. You see, if you're guilty, you know you're caught, you get some rest, you let your guard down.’

This bit of dialog is based on a well-known theory that says that only the guilty sleep well in jail.  The theory goes that if a guilty man gets caught, he figures that he is where he belongs and might as well get some sleep.  An innocent man tosses and turns, trying to think how to escape his undeserved peril.

Our Psalm today hints at a similar, though slightly different phenomenon.  Here the psalmist recognizes that the natural and common inclination to avoid, deflect, or deny our mistakes and shortcomings never turns out the way we hope.  When we refuse to admit our wrongs, trying in vain to keep them hidden, they tend to eat at us from the inside out.  

Guilt sitting unresolved has physical as well as spiritual and emotional effects on us.  It damages our relationships with God and with others.  It robs us of the joy that comes both from receiving grace and being reconciled.  Eventually, the weight of the guilt that ‘presses on us day and night’ wears us down and diminishes us.

But transformation begins when we turn to Jesus and admit our sin.  Just like the guilty man, who can finally rest in jail, knowing he is exactly where he belongs, recognizing and admitting our errors and faults is the first step.

Once we have stopped pretending and hiding, we can discover the joy that comes from redemption and forgiveness in and through Jesus Christ.  No longer hiding and cowering behind a tree like Adam and Eve, once we turn to Jesus with our sins and seek forgiveness, we begin to experience the joy that comes from restoration and forgiveness.

We find joy and happiness in the Lord when we no longer have to live a lie, when we no longer have to pretend or hide.  When we can recognize the gift of love and forgiveness that we have been given and the grace of Jesus Christ that has brought it to us.  

Sharing God’s Love,

Prayer:   Lord, even though it is difficult, help us bare our souls and sins to you, so that exposed, we might receive the covering grace of your love and forgiveness.  Amen.

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