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If we wrong our brother, then we sin against God. This is a pretty harsh statement but it’s exactly what David is claiming in verse 4 of the 51st Psalm today.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. (Psalm 51:4)
If you are just joining us, for the last half of August, we are discussing Psalm 51, David’s psalm of repentance for the sin he committed involving Bathsheba and Uriah.
But maybe you’ve never committed adultery or contemplated harming another individual so you’re wondering how this verse applies you today. Well, let’s look at this verse in light of 1st John 4:19-21.
19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
Jesus tells us to love our neighbor. John says that if we do not, we are a liar and cannot love God. When David took action on his desire for Bathsheba, he was not loving her or respecting her marriage. And that disrespect eventually drove him to murder.
We may have a whole host of thoughts that come through our mind on a day-to-day basis but acting on the thoughts that disagree with scripture (and disrespect our neighbor) can lead to sin against that person and God.
When we sin against our neighbor, we are disobeying the call to love them. David reminds us of that divine connection. We are called to love others because God first loved us. If we do not extend that same grace to others, then how can we expect to receive it?
Is there someone that you have sinned against whom you need to ask forgiveness? Whether it’s a private letter recorded in your journal, a prayer of repentance (like David’s) or a conversation between you and a friend, ask the Lord to reveal where you have sinned against him recently. Don’t be afraid, he’s already forgiven you the moment you realize you need it. Grace is amazing that way. 🙂