When It's Right to Be Wrong (Psalm 6)
Reflections on Psalm 6
At 12 and 8 years of age, respectively, my brother Josh and I were never wrong. Of course, my parents, with almost a century of life experience between them at that point, didn’t know better. On one Wednesday drive to church, we young paragons of wisdom confidently asserted that the word “God” was present in every book of the Bible. My dad told us that God was never mentioned by name in Esther. Josh and I decided to inform my father that he had just made a factual error. After several minutes of me and my brother touting our biblical prowess, my dad stated, “I’ve only been wrong once in my life. It was the time I thought I was wrong, but it turned out that I was right.” After scoffing at his wisecracking assertion, Josh and I thumbed through Esther to locate any reference to the divine name. Much to our surprise, it was absent (a fact that still surprises me to this day). We were wrong. But being wrong was good for us because we learned a better lesson. Even though God’s name is never mentioned, his hand is still at work in that biblical book. Being wrong, Josh and I learned, is the first step to a better reality.
The Bible is a book packed with stories about people who realized how devastatingly wrong they were. “Create in me a clean heart, O God,” King David cried out after he dove into the depths of sin with Bathsheba (Psalm 51:10). When Isaiah was summoned to the throne room of God, the stains on his soul arose in a plea for mercy: “Woe to me…I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty” (Isaiah 6:5). And when Jesus stood before Peter, the disciple implored, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” (Luke 5:8).
In the pride of our limited perspective, we want to insist that we are always right. When the realization of our sin awakens, however, our hearts come crashing down like the Philistine temple after Samson regained his strength. Psalm 6, the first of the Psalms of Confession, gives expression to this deep responsive grief wracking our souls. Despite the pain and loss, the psalm writer reminds us, being wrong is a blessing. Only the life awakened to its error can realize how right God is. And because He is right, we can become righteous.
Footsteps—putting feet on our faith
1. Describe a time you were wrong.
2. Why is it so hard to accept when we make mistakes?
3. What should our response be when we realize that God is right?
Dear God, you are always right. I cannot stand before you on my own two feet. The weight of my mistakes drives me to my knees. Look on me today and save me. Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.