I had preached that morning on forgiveness. As I stepped down from the pulpit, a deacon handed me a note that contained only a phone number. “This person was watching on television,” he said, “and she called in. She wouldn’t leave her name, but she asked if you could call her.”
I finished greeting the worshipers, went to my office, and dialed the number. She poured out a story she had never told anyone. It was a story of a sin committed twenty years before, a story that had haunted and burdened her every day since, a story that left her alone and guilty.
She learned painfully what the psalmist expresses in today’s passage: While I kept silence, my body wasted away…your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer (vv. 3, 4). Silence is sometimes golden, of course. But when silence is the result of guilt, silence is a curse. Fortunately, breaking the silence in the right way lifts the curse.
The right way to break the silence, of course, is not by posting our sins on Facebook. Rather, we should follow the psalmist’s example: Then I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not hide my iniquity (v. 5a). Our confession is, first of all, a confession to God.
The psalmist’s transfiguration begins right then and there. The poet names the sin and lays it before God. Then he writes that God forgave the guilt of my sin (v. 5b).
Selah, adds the psalmist. And God keeps forgiving. Selah, indeed.
Describe your most powerful experience of God’s forgiveness.
God, transfigure us and cleanse us by the power of your forgiveness. Amen.