Whose fault is it that your life isn't going exactly perfectly? When bad things happen, are you quick to look for someone to blame? It's a natural impulse, it seems, for most of us; who can I pin this on? Or in today's world, who can I sue?
David has his share of psalms citing his enemies, talking about the oppression and persecution he's come under and how much of his time he has to spend running from those who are trying to kill him. But in Psalm 27, when he talks candidly about how his life is not what he desires it to be, how he's falling apart, his enemies are not the first ones he blames.
His sin is.
Imagine that. David's life is not what he wants it to be, and the first thing he does is to consider that maybe it's his own fault. Maybe his life isn't what he wants it to be because he's not the man that he wants to be. He's not the man that he professes to be. He knows the inmost parts of his being better than any of us looking in on his life, and he confesses that there are some dark parts there. He confesses that he's messing up, that he's not getting it right, that he's falling short.
And maybe, just maybe, that he deserves what he's getting because it's the natural consequence of what he's doing.
It's a lost art in our present day. Most of us don't consider that we bring a lot of our troubles on ourselves. We've been taught and conditioned, through media and social media and advertisements for lawyers, to blame everyone but ourselves. Coffee's too hot? Well, someone should have put a warning label on that telling us that coffee could potentially be hot. Relationship ended? Well, we should have known that other person was toxic; all the warning signs were there.
We don't take responsibility for our actions any more, intentional or unintentional. That last bit is important because most of us, given the choice, wouldn't choose to do wrong; it just sort of happens. Sometimes, it's clearly wrong and we do it anyway, but for most of us, it seems right or we wouldn't do it. It's only in hindsight or in a bigger lens that we're able to see that it wasn't as good a choice as it seemed.
There's no reason we have to beat ourselves up over our sin, as some are prone to do. We don't have to chastise ourselves forever. But we should be humble enough to confess that we've done something we shouldn't have and to accept that often, what's happening in our lives is the natural consequence of our own action.
David does it here. His life is falling apart, and the first place he looks is in the mirror. Yes, he will come around and talk about his enemies by the end of it, but he starts with himself. And so should we.
Not just because it's often true, but because it also gives us an opportunity for a greater Truth. What's that?
Come back tomorrow and find out.