By Aaron Elder
Reading this psalm and a variety of thoughts of others on it, I was confronted with an unfamiliar and uncomfortable question. The first part of this psalm has David apparently repenting for some sin committed. The second part seems to be David praying for deliverance from his foes. The psalm, while powerful, can seem a bit disjointed. The question that confronted me was this: What if it was my sin that created my foes?
I had a taste of this idea two months into my new job. I spoke with a somewhat demanding and particular client who requested some information related to a sales opportunity. Because of my fears and insecurities, I did things the way the client requested rather than how I was instructed and I failed to include my boss on the call. It was not until after the phone call and a conversation with my colleague that I realized the error I had made. Even with that, I wrestled with what to do. Do I confess it to my boss or will it just pass? My boss wasn’t in the office, and I had other work to do, and as Friday drew to a close, I headed home to enjoy the weekend.
When I woke up Saturday morning, the weight of what I had done hit me like a ton of bricks. What ensued was a war of emotions. On the one hand, I was grieved at what I had done and wishing I had done things differently. On the other, I was turning my boss into a hardened, unforgiving foe and being angry with him.
What an odd emotional space to be in. I was simultaneously penitent on the one hand and vilifying my foe on the other… the irony being that it was my sin that created the foe!
So what to do? On Monday morning I went to my boss and I told him what happened. Any guesses of what I found? Here, a demanding, non-Christian boss with high expectations… extended grace, mercy, and forgiveness in abundance.
Often as I read the psalms and come across foes and enemies, I tend to place myself as the innocent. Sometimes that’s true. More often, though, I create my own foes. God would you deal with my foes justly and show me where my own repentance and restitution is needed? May I be willing to be the first to step into the “firing line” to orchestrate reconciliation.