Rebuilding after the damage is done

Psalm 51:10-13

I’m finishing the year by reflecting on Psalms (songs) that match up to some of the events we’ve covered in David’s life. Psalm 51 is about King David’s affair with Bathsheba. He recognizes he’s sinned, and after his confession, he’s asking for God’s forgiveness. I found verses 10-13 especially powerful:

Create in me a clean heart, O God, 
     and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence, 
     and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, 
     and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, 
     and sinners will return to you.

David screwed up. He not only sinned against God, he hurt his family and Bathsheba’s family. David knows he can’t undo the sins he committed, but he can ask for God’s help in starting over. David specifically asks God to help change his perspective: To renew his spirt, to restore the joy he once experienced in his relationship with God. Knowing he lost something when he sinned, David wants God to return and remain close by. And David intends to use his changed perspective to share God’s love with others. The crisis he created becomes a catalyst for change.

In making poor behavioral decisions with our family business partners, a link to our Creator is broken. We not only lose our connection with family, we also lose something in our relationship with God — what Frederick Buechner referred to as “widening the gap.” Restoring that connection begins with changing our perspective, with seeking a clean heart, with following our desire to feel renewed. As we all know, to change much of anything we must first change ourselves.

As you contemplate how you recover after making a mistake with your family business partners, consider The Message version of this passage:

God, make a fresh start in me, 
     shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash, 
     or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile, 
     put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways 
     so the lost can find their way home.