May 30, 2020

When You Point Your Finger

I confess my iniquity; I am sorry for my sin.
—Psalm 38:18

I have to admit that I find it a bit tedious when the psalmist protests her or his innocence, all the while pointing fingers at the wicked. "Help me, God, because I'm righteous and they're not," I read over and over again. But here suddenly we have Psalm 38, in which the psalmist points the finger at the very one doing the complaining. "I've done this to myself. I confess my sin. I'm sorry."

The Bible makes it abundantly clear that the righteous can judge the wicked for their wickedness. If this weren't the case, no prophet would ever arise, no works of justice would ever be carried out, no wrongs would ever be righted. But the Bible also makes it clear that no one is altogether righteous. As Mark Knopfler put it in the song Solid Rock (1980): "When you point your finger 'cause your plan fell through, you got three more fingers pointing back at you."

And so I have to find that sweet spot—the balance between discerning right from wrong, and judging evil even as I root it out of my own life.

Before I point fingers, Lord, show me a mirror. Help me by your grace to get my own house in order, and then work through me to help order the world according to your love; in Jesus' Name, who taught me to pray: Our Father...

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