Thoughts on Psalm 32

by Jacob Juncker

As persons created in the very image and likeness of God, we are created good. In our natural, created state we are good as God in Godself is good. However, we have been corrupted by sin. Our goodness is hidden beneath layers of sin.

Sin is anything that separates us and/or threatens our relationship from God and neighbor.

When have you knowingly sinned—threatened or completely severed your relationship with God or neighbor? What emotions did you feel when the relationship was threatened?

The Psalmist reminds us that when we fail to confess our sins—naming those times when we separate ourselves and threaten relationships with others—that our bodies “waste away.” It is a powerful image of how unconfessed sin can eat at us.

I’m not quite sure why it is so difficult to confess our sins. Maybe it is the fact that we must acknowledge a failure to be in genuine relationship.  Perhaps, we do not like confessing our sin because we do not want to acknowledge that a relationship has failed.  Whatever the case might be not confessing our sin is more detrimental than the sin itself.

What sins are you unwilling to confess? Why?

God is always ready to forgive if only we would acknowledge our sin.

When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he taught them to pray for forgiveness of sins (trespasses) as we do our best to heal relationships (to forgive those who trespass against us). When commenting upon this passage from the Lord’s prayer, John Wesley wrote:

“Give us, O Lord, redemption in thy blood, even the forgiveness of sins: as thou enablest us freely and fully to forgive every man, so do thou forgive all our trespasses” (From John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible, commenting on Matthew 6:12).

“I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you…” writes the Psalmist. Do not be so ashamed of your sin that you withdraw from God for that is, in itself, sinful.  Confess your sin and receive God’s grace. Confess your sin and “be glad in the Lord and rejoice.” For through the grace you receive, God will make you righteous and upright in heart.

If you are having trouble confessing your sin, or do not know how, consider this prayer.

Gracious God, I need your grace now. I have failed to see your image in myself and in others. I have failed to recognize all that you would have me be.  Help me, Merciful God, to find you in all that I see and do. Teach me, O Jesus Christ, to love as you love: to forgive as you forgive; to be as you would have me be.  Through the power of your Holy Spirit, O God, I receive now your grace. Make me whole and allow me to rejoice in your glory with all the saints this day and all the days of my life. Amen.