Psalm 51:1-3

Several years ago, I was standing in my driveway fighting off a panic attack. I felt a great pressure on my chest, and the heaviness extended to my very soul. I was at the crossroads of a decision to become a minister or to remain in a thriving law practice. Many things in my life were not right. Like David, I knew my transgressions, and the reality of my sin was ever before me (v. 3).

Have you ever felt that kind of “heart” pressure before? When the weight of a decision seems unbearable? And perhaps your own transgression is part of the heaviness? 

There is only One to go to in times like this. Certainly tell your spouse or trusted confidant, but don’t let that confession supplant the confession we must make to God. Our words don’t need to be flowery or profound. We don’t need to utter them in the church sanctuary, or on a mountaintop, or by a stream. We might confess as we merge into traffic on the way home. In the space where we read these very words, we could open our heart to God. 

Have mercy on me, O God (v. 1) is all we need to say. That’s what came from my lips as I stood in my driveway. It rushed out, overflowing and exuberant. And all of that crushing weight melted away. 

The God we worship is merciful. No matter what we’ve done or who we’ve wronged, God’s steadfast love cleanses us. It doesn’t matter how much shame you have or have caused. God will grant mercy to those who know and acknowledge their transgressions, and who ask for mercy. 


When life feels unmanageable, what helps you take the crucial step of crying out to God for mercy? What helps you believe that God hears our prayer and answers it? 


God of infinite mercy and compassion, we confess our sin before you. We pray for mercy and praise you for being a God of love who will forgive and make us clean. Amen.

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