Psalm 26 is a psalm of individual lament – it appears that David has been falsely accused and he is crying out to God to vindicate him, based on his relationship with God. Verse 2 reads:
Put me on trial, Lord, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and my heart.
I think one of the most painful things to deal with in relationships is being misunderstood. To have my motives or heart in a situation questioned or to be accused of doing something that I didn’t do. The times that are especially hard are when my innocence is impossible to prove. No one but God knows exactly what’s in my heart or precisely what my motivation is. This psalm speaks to me in those times.
This psalm also speaks to me about judging the motives of others. I may think I know what they are thinking or why they did or didn’t do something, but do I really? I can see the actions of others, I can hear their words and I can observe how they treat me and others around them, but ultimately, only God knows their heart. Only God knows if who they are on the inside matches who they claim to be on the outside. That’s true of me too.
Relationships are often the proving ground of our faith. I think that’s why Jesus said the two greatest commandments are to love God and love people – not always easy to do. So, how do you react when you are misunderstood and/or falsely accused? Do you retaliate in some way? Social media is the great weapon of our day. It’s so easy to say whatever you want to say from the safety of the computer screen, never giving a thought or care to the implications. Reputations are ruined, relationships are damaged, all with a few simple key strokes.
David didn’t have Facebook to vent his thoughts on, but he knew that he had a dependable God that would always hear his heart. What might change in each of us if we chose to go to God FIRST with our hurts, our frustrations and our anger instead of texting a friend or using the weapon of social media? This psalm is a huge reminder for me to do just what David did – ask God to cross examine me and test my motives and my heart.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach