The one whose wrongdoing is forgiven,
whose sin is covered over, is truly happy!
The one the Lord doesn’t consider guilty—
in whose spirit there is no dishonesty—
that one is truly happy!
When I kept quiet, my bones wore out;
I was groaning all day long—
every day, every night!—
because your hand was heavy upon me.
My energy was sapped as if in a summer drought.
So I admitted my sin to you;
I didn’t conceal my guilt.
“I’ll confess my sins to the Lord, ” is what I said.
Then you removed the guilt of my sin.
That’s why all the faithful should pray to you during troubled times,
so that a great flood of water won’t reach them.
You are my secret hideout!
You protect me from trouble.
You surround me with songs of rescue!
I will instruct you and teach you
about the direction you should go.
I’ll advise you and keep my eye on you.
Don’t be like some senseless horse or mule,
whose movement must be controlled
with a bit and a bridle.
Don’t be anything like that!
The pain of the wicked is severe,
but faithful love surrounds the one who trusts the Lord.
You who are righteous, rejoice in the Lord and be glad!
All you whose hearts are right, sing out in joy!
Ever been told you are “as stubborn as a mule?” I have! and God knows, at times it was an accurate description. Sometimes my stubborn resolve to be right at all costs is an obstacle between me and the God who loves me. We joke among the George family that ‘the George’s are always right!’ Indeed, I have witnessed and participated in many ‘discussions’ where not all parties could be right. I have too often found it hard to admit when I was wrong.
This Psalm from the daily lectionary today, is a reminder that we have a God who encourages us to swear off stubbornness and hard-headedness and embrace the promise that an open and honest relationship with God will set us free. Indeed when we have ‘…erred and strayed from God’s way like lost sheep,’ our bottling up of that which we have done or failed to do leaves us worn out and bereft of peace. But as the psalmist found freedom in admitting failings, so too we may be granted that same protection from trouble and be surrounded by those same songs of rescue. That freedom to confess one’s wrongdoing brings us into the safety of God’s love – our own Secret Hiding Place!
May Lent be for us a time when we may seek the sacrament of reconciliation. There is freedom in confessing ones failings and sins and there is reassurance in the promise of God’s forgiveness.