In Psalm 51 David teaches us how to respond when we’ve blown it the worst way possible. When he finishes confessing the darkness of his sin, he begins pleading with God to help him. Here’s my version of David’s plea found in verses 10-17 – “God, remove what is ugly, and replace it with beauty that will last. Please don’t abandon me! Restore to me the joy of knowing there’s nothing between us anymore so I can help restore others who have made my same mistakes. God, help me get to that place where I know our relationship is completely restored – that place where I’m praising you for your deliverance! If my repentance involved merely jumping through religious hoops I would do it, but I know you’re looking for brutal honesty and brokenness. So I commit myself to total transparency.” Does that sound like a prayer you could pray when you committed your worst sin?
In short David asks God what any of us can ask – “God, please clean up my act and the consequences of my actions! Clean up the mess I’ve made between me and you. I want to turn from my sin and turn towards all that is good. God, please soften the impact of how my stupidity will ultimately affect others.”