David was a leader. He had a strong body, a strong personality, and a strong mind. Like many strong leaders, when he sinned, he sinned big. And, when he confessed, he confessed big. Psalm 51 is his confession.
He had sinned big. Nothing related to this story is good. First, he sent his men into battle without joining them. While they were gone, he slept with a soldiers wife. When she became pregnant, he ordered his military leader to abandoned her husband on the battlefield so he would be killed. When David sinned, he sinned big.
But when he was confronted about his sin, he confessed big. He cried out to God for forgiveness, and a loving and gracious God showed him mercy. He begged God to create him in a clean heart, and God graciously answered his request.
But we often fall into a trap when reading this Psalm. This Psalm matches David’s personality more than ours. It reflects the pattern often followed by strong leaders, but perhaps it doesn’t fit our own personality. Every person experiences confession differently. For me, I confess often and endlessly. I even confess to sins I really didn’t commit. The challenge for me isn’t having someone confront me about sin, I am already hyper-aware of my sin. My challenge is accepting Christ’s free gift of grace.
As we enter the Lent season with confession, let’s remember this Psalm and making it our own, confessing our sin while remembering God’s gift.