“Pleading ‘No Contest'” – Psalm 51:3-4

Psalm 51:3-4

“For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgment.”

We are guilty in our culture of gauging the seriousness of a sin based on who it impacts and what immediately discernable damage it brings. In our tendency to let ourselves off the hook for poor and selfish decisions, we rationalize that what we’ve done is no big deal, having little to no effect, and harming no one. We may claim special circumstances that in our estimation pull our action out of the sin category into a more gray area of acceptability. 
David may have told himself at each step in his sin that what he was doing was ok. 

“I was just out on my roof, looking over my kingdom, and happened to see this beautiful woman.” 
“As King, I’m within my rights to get pretty much anything I want and no one will question me.”

“If I bring in Bathsheeba’s husband from the battlefield and give them the opportunity to spend time together, this little inconvenience will be covered up.”
“Uriah isn’t working with me and he’s left me no choice.”
“I’ve made all of this ok by marrying Bathsheeba.” 

But after David was confronted by the prophet Nathan, he repented and changed his tune completely. He came face to face with all that he had done and pleaded ‘no contest.’ He wouldn’t be fighting the punishment or justifying his actions anymore.  

When we acknowledge that our sin is against God, we are doing away with the concept of a ‘victimless crime.’ Any sin is a choice against God and His rule in our life. Any sin is swerving off the path of God’s best for us and anything we hit in our path is on us. To say that our sin is against God isn’t a denial of the damage we’ve done to others, but an increase in the offense’s weight by seeing it as done against the highest rank – God Himself. And God Himself is the one that determines what is sin, not culture and not circumstances.  

While using the HEAR method (see below) consider the following questions: 
  • What sin have you justified or minimized that needs to be seen as against God and repented from?
  • Thinking honestly to yourself, what consequences have you noticed in these areas from choosing less than God’s best? 
Highlight – what words or phrases jump out at you? 
Explain – what does the passage mean? 
Apply – how does the passage intersect with your life today? 
Respond – how is God leading you to respond?
Jon Price, Associate Pastor

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