Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
— Psalm 51:1–2
As we get to the end of verse 2, David says, “my sin.” He does not blame anyone else. Instead, he takes responsibility for his wrongdoing. It is hard to say, “I’m sorry. That was my fault.” These are powerful words in a world that seems to want to blame everyone but ourselves. We often look past our actions and dwell on others.
I remember a story of a couple who was having some relationship trouble. They were going to counseling to work on their marriage, but they were each expecting the therapist to help them change their spouse. After several weeks, the counselor said she could no longer meet with the couple. They were shocked and asked why the change of direction. She told them she would be happy to work with each of them separately, but not as a couple, because they were both using the sessions as an opportunity to point out the other’s flaws. She believed their first course of action should be to work on their individual development before addressing their marriage.
We can apply this principle to how the Lord sees us: not as a couple, a family, a church member, or as a group of any kind. He sees us as dearly loved individuals made by him. He works on our hearts in unique and specific ways that will strengthen us and our relationship with him.
Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”
Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”
— John 21:20–22
A few years ago, I had a relationship at work that was not very healthy, and I tried to ignore and work around it. I even prayed regularly that God would change my coworker’s heart and actions, but the Lord turned the tables on my prayer one day. I remember the Spirit asking, “What if I don’t ever change anything about him? What if the work that needs to happen is in your heart?” Ouch! That hurt my pride because I thought I was the better person in the relationship. God said to me at that moment, much like he said to Peter in John 21:22, “What I do with him is none of your business. I am talking to you.”
Today, let’s spend a few minutes looking at our relationship with God. No one else matters right now. Don’t think about what others are doing or not doing. Don’t evaluate yourself based on anyone else. He asks you, “Do you love me?”