Handling Error in a Godly Manner

An extravagant downside to the human condition is our tendency to err in regards to the expectations of God. Generally speaking, we spend much of our time doing things or behaving in a manner that is below what is expected of us. The Bible gives us numerous examples of great failures and mishaps throughout the course of human history. Even David, who God goes out of His way to tell us is “a man after [His] own heart” (Acts 13:22), found himself on far end of a great mistake.

In II Samuel 11, the account of David’s great sin is given as he takes Bathsheba for himself, killing her husband Uriah while doing so. Keeping in mind that all scripture is divinely inspired (both in content and structure), it is sound to reason that God placed this story to serve a valuable purpose. David, who represents both a terrific type of Christ and a prime example of a godly man, is shown to be a mortal, capable of making mistakes that we all could make because he fights with the same temptations that we all fight. Truly, if David could experience such a downfall, how could we think that we would be spared from such a situation during our lives?

Surely, we all make mistakes during our lives, some greater than others. Often times, when we are retrospective, we find that we have said things we shouldn’t have said, done things we shouldn’t have done, acted in ways that we shouldn’t have acted, or dealt with situations in a less than perfect manner. Again, as humans we are predisposed to do these things from time to time. However, David, while providing one of the greatest blunders in scripture, also serves as an example of handling his error in a godly manner.

32 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.  When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.  For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.  I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.  For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.  Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.  I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.  Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.  10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.  11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

Psalm 32 (KJV)

While it is true that David’s sin was great, it is equally true that his repentance and the way in which he dealt with his sin was great also. The ways in which we deal with our actions and consequences prove to be just as important as the actions themselves. Maintaining an upright and godly walk brings glory to God, but during times where we have erred, approaching those situations in the correct way can also bring glory to God. Humility is a trait that oftentimes evades us, but humbling ourselves and admitting mistakes both brings us closer to God and allows growth from our mistakes. An introspective mind births a well-rounded character. Acknowledging mistakes to God, those that we wrong, and, perhaps most importantly, to ourselves allows us to move past those mistakes while gaining wisdom.

It should go without saying that David did commit a great sin. However, while II Samuel offers the account of his sin, Psalm 32 offers the account of his acknowledgement and repentance, and allows him, imperfect as he may be, to bring glory to God even in his error. Even with his faults, God makes sure to tell us that David is a man after His own heart, both because of the things he did right, and the things he did wrong.

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