The cry of a broken spirit
Psalm 51: 1-17
1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgement.
5 Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
6 You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
14 Deliver me from bloodshed, O God,
O God of my salvation,
and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
15 O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 For you have no delight in sacrifice;
if I were to give a burnt-offering, you would not be pleased.
17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
There is something immensely powerful about speaking honest thoughts when you are feeling broken. There is also something immensely powerful about those words being heard. For some these are spoken to a therapist, for some they are spoken to friends or family and for some they are spoken to God.
We are so lucky to have the Psalms as part of the collection of writings in the Bible because they show us that it is important to nurture the emotional side of our relationship with God through the Spirit and through prayer. They also show us something very important: God can take it. God is not oversensitive and prone to look away when we are distressed or angry, God is there with us, God hears us, God accepts our curses and our praises and our groans until we have come through to a place of peace once again.
To have a relationship with God in which you can be truly known, heard and loved is a privilege and a transformative power in its own right. For who can take that away from us? No-one! Not even our own selves. No matter how silent we might grow, God will always be waiting, patient as the universe, for a word or a cry asking to bring us back into relationship again. God is bigger than we can imagine and hears us when we call.
God of transforming love,
We come to you in our sorrow, in our hurting, in our longing and you hear us.
Help us now to hear you too, to rest in your arms and feel your peace.
Teach us to mend our broken spirit even as you begin the work for us.