“Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned.” (Jeremiah 2:35)
David was shocked by his sin. How could he do something so despicable? We often think we’re further along than we are. Even New Testament saints need to be warned: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1 Cor, 10:12) Paul was wise enough to know that not only could others judge him wrong, but self-assessment was not always accurate either. “But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.” (1 Cor. 4:3)
It is difficult to convict someone of wrong-doing when they are convinced they are innocent. Without conviction there is no repentance. Jeremiah knew he faced a losing battle with a self-justified generation. They would not look at themselves in the mirror. They refused to know themselves the way they really were. They were self-deceived. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)
God’s most difficult work is getting men to own up to their crimes. He would like to pardon them, but He can’t when they won’t confess. It is not God’s judgment we should fear as much as our own refusal to admit where we’re worthy of it. God doesn’t want to bring us to judgment; He wants to bring us to mercy. But not before we get real.