Paul Tripp comments on Psalm 51 about what brings us our greatest hurt. While we look to blame people and situations, the one greater reality that we must face when looking to sort out the true source of our hurt is our own heart. Paul says is it this way:
It is your fault! Sin is a matter of the heart before it’s ever an issue of behavior. Sin is a matter of what lurks in us before it’s ever an issue of what happens to us. It’s the evil inside me that connects me to the evil outside me. So we must confess again today that we are our biggest and greatest problem in life.
You and I don’t so much need to be rescued from difficult people, tempting locations and stressful situations. No, we need to be rescued from ourselves. We can alter our circumstances, but we have no ability to purge ourselves from the destructive patterns of sin and selfishness that are in our hearts.
Today, even though life will be hard and people will press your buttons, don’t say, “It’s not my fault.” Instead, pray like David: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
Because of the beauty of the gospel, there is more to the story. Just a few lines later in the Psalm David adds these words of hope:
“The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
When we become broken before God we can know hope. The fault that was ours became Christ’s. He works in our brokenness!
This means I am not defined by the attacks and sins of other people! Being broken before God is quite different than being broken before people. David is acknowledging that only God makes things right for us. If someone sins against me, charges me unfairly, or blames me for his sin, that does call for me to broken before God. In my brokenness before God, I can pray for the restoration of the one who has sinned against me, but God is not honored by me bowing in appeasement to the sins of men.
No human can rightly demand brokenness from a child of God. We can be and must be repentant for our sins. Our repentance should lead to healing and restoration in relationships. David provides clear direction for those who are hurting and for those who need help. He creates a clean heart to heal our hurt and he embraces the sacrifice of this broken, contrite heart to help us know the joy of our salvation.