according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is ever before me.
Against you, you alone, have I sinned,
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are justified in your sentence
and blameless when you pass judgment.
Indeed, I was born guilty,
a sinner when my mother conceived me.
You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
When I read this psalm I am reminded of the compassion and mercy of God. In this Psalm, King David is asking for God to show mercy and "cleanse" him and change him. To create in him a clean heart and make him into a different person, a person who does not let his own ego control him.
David placed his lust above his love for his God. That was his sin. He exercised his will independently from God's. He let his ego take over. The result was disastrous for him and the people around him. But he realized his mistake and asked God through Nathan to exercise compassion and grant him mercy. He asked God to change his heart. To realign his heart and give his will over to God.
I am reminded by this human story that I must not align my will with my own ego. I must not put my own desires first. When I do this I am practicing a form of idolatry and worshipping a false God and only disaster will result. When I let my ego lead me, I live in the fear that things may not go my way. That I may not get what I want. Love, acceptance, and tolerance are far from my way of acting. Instead, I act to protect the myself and sacrifice the needs of others for my own and just like David, I hurt other people and cause chaos and heartache. This is my sin.
When I ask God for mercy, I am asking him to change my heart. I am aligning my will to God's. My need to control the outcome of a given situation is given over to God. I am no longer in control God is. Now, I can recognize my ego's needs as trivial and meaningless. When I turn my will over to God my neighbor's needs come first and my need comes second. I become a servant for others and let go of my need to be "in charge". I act as a true disciple of Christ and love and serve others.