I winced the moment I said it. I meant to be funny, but it came out mean. My comment sagged heavy on my heart when I went to bed and was still draped there when I awoke. I thought, My motives were pure, but my words were clumsy. Such self-talk purchased momentary relief, but soon enough the pain of my words began to haunt my heart again. After twenty-four hours of trying to let myself off the hook, I finally admitted what I had known all along. What I said was wrong. I had been a jerk.

Immediately a wave of relief washed over my head and down to my toes. I understood the rhetorical question of Psalm 130:3, “Lord, if you kept a record of our sins, who, O Lord, could ever survive?” Answer: No one. As Paul later declared, “Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23).

Almost everyone. Psalm 130:3 may have begun as a rhetorical question, but it didn’t end there. If God kept a record of sins, “Who, O Lord, could ever survive?” Only one person: our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus obeyed God fully and so He could offer Himself as the perfect sacrifice for our sins. His death and resurrection are the reason we can rejoice in this verse from Psalm 130, “But you offer forgiveness” (Psalm 130:4).

I still often want to make myself look better than I am, but this psalm is teaching me a better way to respond to my sin. I’m learning to say Ugh, that’s ugly, then Yes, that’s what I am on my own, apart from Christ. But that’s no longer who I am. I am now a saint, made holy by the blood of Jesus. So, by God’s grace, my sin has become an excuse to celebrate my new identity. I’m a child of God, forgiven in Jesus. “I am counting on the Lord; yes, I am counting on him” (Psalm 130:5).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: John 14:15-31