Have mercy on me O God,
according to your steadfast love;
According to your abundant mercy,
blot out my transgressions.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight.
Psalm 50 (LXX)
. . .
I heard a homily once on the pair of readings (from 2 Samuel 11 and Psalm 50) that did a wonderful job of describing God’s mercy to David. Despite David’s sin, the Lord is faithful.
No doubt. And that God is faithful to David after he commits adultery and murder is good news. With this I have no problem. But the homily left me with the distinct impression that because God forgave David, everything was all right. I wanted to ask, ‘but what about the girl?’ The working of redemption and grace in her life is hidden from us. All we see is that she is shuffled around at the king’s command, and after he has her husband killed, the king takes her as his own. The sin is David’s; the loss is hers. Yet there is no mention in the story that David ever asked for her forgiveness.
I ask too much, perhaps. David was a man of his time, and women were not recognized by the establishment as we are today. But it does make me think about the wrongs committed in our own day that seem irredeemable. I suppose that covers the big, political wrongs, though that’s not what I have in mind. I think about the betrayal of one friend by another; breaking a promise made to a brother, a daughter, or a son; or the careless comment that causes more hurt than we could have imagined. Whichever side of the wrongdoing we happen to be on (this time), we have to trust that the making-right is God’s work, and not ours. We offer our contrition or our hurt up to God, and hope for the One who makes all things new to heal and to save. Only the One who brought everything into being from nothing, and turned the darkness into light, can turn our mourning into dancing.
And so we pray that He will.