Have you ever just horribly, irreversibly, unbelievably messed up? Me neither.

jk. jk.

Seriously, I can’t even count how many of these failures I’ve had.

It’s that awkward moment you realize your mistake. You feel a pit in your stomach. You simultaneously feel frozen and sweaty while the world seems to stop and spin crazy fast as you grapple with the reality you’ve created.

It could be a mistake in your job.

It could be a mistake in a relationship.

It could be a mistake financially.

Ever made a mistake like that?

Me too.

Mistakes are part of what makes us human.

But, often it feels like mistakes are what will define us as humans.

Our mistakes aren’t what will define us.
How we respond to our mistakes is what will define us.


In this week’s reading for Lent, we find ourselves in the Psalms. This is a collection of songs and poems which would be sung and recited by the kingdom of Israel. Most of these songs were written by David and Psalm 51 is one of them.

But, this one comes out of a very personal mistake by David.

David is the king of Israel and things are going really well. One day he sees a married woman bathing and calls her to the palace for one reason and that one reason becomes a baby. So, David decides to have her husband killed in a battle.

Guys, this is bad.

After David has successfully carried on an affair, impregnated a married woman, and killed off her innocent husband, a prophet comes to David and calls him out on his actions.

He has just horribly, irreversibly, unbelievably messed up.

This cannot be undone. This cannot be fixed.

The world is often waiting for us to fail, and often we will.

Fortunately, David realizes the mistakes he’s made. Now he responds to the mistake he’s made.

Psalm 51 is his response to these mistakes. He declares his brokenness, he prays for cleansing, and he asks for forgiveness.

What’s most shocking about this Psalm is not the honesty or the vulnerability, but the publicity. David puts this out there for everyone to hear and everyone to know. He makes his apology clear to everyone. He admits, not just to God, but to his community the sin and shame he’s feeling.

If you’re in that place where you have just horribly, irreversibly, unbelievably messed up the one place you may be afraid to go is to God. He seems too inaccessible, too distant, and too holy. But, we should ask for forgiveness, pray for cleansing, and ask for forgiveness both to those around us who we have hurt and to God himself.

We know the world is waiting for us to fail.

We also know God is waiting to forgive.

Today, if you have failed, made a mistake, or flat out messed up, don’t let that failure define you. Allow your response to be what defines you. Declare your brokenness, pray for cleansing, and ask for forgiveness.

Let me know if I can help.