I recently reread the words of David penned about a year after he’d perpetrated the inconceivable—adultery and murder. This lauded king of Israel—the sweet lyricist who’d earlier written, perhaps as a shepherd boy in the pasturelands of Judah, what may be the best known and beloved psalm (Psalm 23)—stole the wife of one of his closest colleagues and then had him killed to cover it up.
This is what David wrote: ”Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place” (Psalm 51:6).
What motivated him to pen these words?
David came face to face with the inescapable awareness of the depths of his sin (v.3). With the help of Nathan the prophet (2 Sam. 12:1-14), David became deeply aware and convicted of how he’d come to despise the word of the Lord (v.9) and perpetrated such an unthinkable evil for which he had no excuse or remedy. It was something he was powerless to uproot. It required the healing touch of the Divine Surgeon to expose, cut out, and forgive his sin.
But what struck me the most about this passage wasn’t the darkness of David’s heart. Anyone who is honest with one’s self knows what darkness lurks within. Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s conviction echoes this sentiment when he clarifies that “the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man.”
What it exposes most is the heart of God. It’s God’s desire that we be honest with ourselves. Telling the truth is fundamental to the heart of God. That makes it easier to see why self-deception is one of the greatest threats to our personal integrity in relationships. It’s the lies we tell ourselves that are often the most convincing and most stubborn to uproot. And it’s the lies we tell ourselves in secret that give birth to the kinds of actions we’d normally consider despicable. Somehow, in the darkness of self-deception, otherwise reprehensible behaviors become justifiable over time . . . until someone shines a light into the dark crevices of our hearts, revealing the truth and causing us to remember.
Learning to tell ourselves the truth—no matter the consequences—helps us avoid far more devastating consequences resulting from embracing lies. I think telling ourselves the truth will change the way we treat others. Don’t you? Love to hear your thoughts.