Many people really don’t like looking in the mirror. They either don’t like the way they look or they are reminded of changes they need to make. It is hard for a lot of people to look in the mirror. The same is true of people who think they want a relationship with God. A lot of people want to come to God without being faced with their sin. It’s kind of like wanting to lose weight or get healthy without exercise or a healthy diet. The only way to truly know God or see him as awesome as he really is, we must first see ourselves for who we really are. In order to know God we must first know ourselves. So, the first step in having a relationship with God is to take a look in the mirror.
After asking for God’s mercy, David shows us that he really doesn’t deserve God’s mercy. David is asking for something God doesn’t have to give and for something he doesn’t deserve. In verse 3, David says, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” Receiving forgiveness from God begins with realizing that you are a sinner against God. Do you really know your sin? Do you know how much your sin hurts your relationships with God and others? We need to know the sins in our lives that are keeping us from a deeper relationship with God in Christ.
We also need to realize that when we sin against other people, we sin against God. David had sinned against his wife, a woman named Bathsheba, and Bathsheba’s husband, Urriah. Even though David had sinned against all these people, he said, “Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight” (v. 4). Everything you do in life is a response to God. You are either rejecting God or obeying God. You are either saying God is not enough, or he is more than enough.
Finally, our sin is deep within us. We need to know that sin isn’t just something you do. It isn’t just a collection of bad things you do at the office, the classroom, or the ball field. Sin is a poison in every person’s heart. Because Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, every person after him, except Jesus was born in sin (v. 5). David sees himself as a sinner, not based on what he does, but on who he is. Taking a good look in the mirror reveals a dark secret in the depths of our hearts–every sin is an act of cosmic treason.
The only hope for the broken man in the mirror is found in the One whom he has offended. Paul says Jesus is the “last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45). He had no sin in his heart, therefore, he never sinned. Because of this, his death on the cross was a perfect sacrifice. We need Jesus because our lives and hearts are filled with sin. By faith in him, we receive the gift of a changed life, where Christ, not sin, becomes the center. If you are in Christ, you are free from the shame that sin breeds. Only in Christ are you able to look in the mirror totally guilt-free because Christ took your guilt and shame on the cross. In him you are being restored to the perfect image of God, an image once lost, but now found in the God-man who became righteousness and sin for you.
Mathew Gilbert (B.A. Boyce College) is Associate Pastor for Children and Preschool at The Church at Trace Crossing in Tupelo, MS. He is a M.Div student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mathew is married to his high school sweetheart, Erica. Mathew and Erica live in Tupelo with their son, Jude. You can follow him on Twitter @mat_gilbert.