Summary: This sermon describes what happens when we put ourselves first instead of God.

A Me Problem

(Check Out Self First)

Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Psalm 51:1-3

Rev. McClinton Hall

The Psalmist talks about something that all of us can testify to. He says my sin and look if you will where it’s at. He said, “It’s before me. It’s not behind me. It’s not beside me, but it’s before me. It’s right in front of me.” And the Psalmist says it is ever before me. A me problem is ever before me. And we all have them. I don’t have much use for the man or woman who goes out of the way to portray themselves as guiltless, faultless and sinless. I don’t have much use for anybody who think themselves as being perfect. All of us are plagued with shortcomings. And all of us, my brothers and sisters wrestle with defects in our own personal lives. It is no mistake here when I share with you that the Psalmist pens the words of the 51st number of Psalm under the tremendous burden of guilt. The Psalm from whence I’ve read in your hearing was penned with a great sense of sadness and remorse. He penned this Psalm with a humble spirit. As he writes the words of this Psalm, he finds himself remorse and in agony. But I must comment the Psalmist.

First of all for one important thing he did among the rest. And that is that the Psalmist writes about problems that he has experienced and problems that he caused. He writes about a major problem in his life. And you can’t really appreciate this Psalm unless you understand the back drop behind the 51st Psalm. There’s a background to this Psalm. David is the writer. I like David because in David we can see good and bad. In David, we can see the best and the worst of mankind. In David, we can see an angel and a demon. The backdrop of this Psalm resembles a modern day soap opera, like All My Children, Days of Our Lives or General Hospital. They all have the same basic storyline. Somebody is sleeping with someone else’s husband or someone else’s wife. Someone has devised a plan or scheme to get what they want accomplished or someone has gone to the extent to murder someone else.

There are the elements of a basic modern day soap opera and these are the basic elements in the backdrop of the 51st number of Psalm. Oh, brothers and sisters, there had been intrigue. There had been treachery. There had been deceitfulness. There had been adultery and there had been murder. Somebody has read the story. It is after this great sin that David had done that he sits down and pens this Psalm. Can I get a witness? As I said earlier, I commend David. And one of the reasons I commend him is that he takes ownership of the situation. He writes about the sin and he takes ownership because he refers to it as, in the 3rd verse, my sin. You know Loving Peace, there are a great many people who are good about pointing out your sins, but they are not very good and they can even fall silent when it comes to addressing their own sins. Are you with me? The Psalmist here says, “My sins.” They are my sin. Yeah, David says, the sin of treachery, that’s mine. The sin of adultery, that’s my sin. The sin of deceit, that’s mine. The sin of murder, that’s mine.

Oh, Loving Peace, I think I ought to tell you that David does not waste time trying to pass the buck, but he takes ownership of his sins. He’s letting us know that it’s not someone else’s problem, but it’s my problem. It’s a me problem. He says, “They’re my sins.” He seems to be saying it’s not my mother’s. It’s not my father’s. It’s not my sister’s. It’s not my brother’s. They’re my sins. David owns them. And God knows I wish more people would come to that position, to that plateau in life where they will simply be man or woman enough to say, “I did it. I’m the culprit. I am the guilty party.” Can I get a witness? He refers to these sins as my sins. As he talks about them, he says that these sins of his are ever before him. David says, “I’m plagued by my sins. The sins that are ever before me are harassing sins. The sins that are ever before me are haunting sins.” David is haunted by the sins that he has committed. The crimes that he’s guilty or plagues him.

Oh, brothers and sisters, if I had been there knowing then what I know now, I would have told David that “There is hope for you when you have heart enough to feel sorry and to become Godly sorry for the wrong you’ve done. Watch yourself, brothers and sisters when you can do any and everything and have no remorse. Watch yourself when you can do any and everything and your conscious don’t bother you. Something is wrong somewhere. You got a me problem. I think I ought to tell you what a me problem is. A me problem is when you think that you are above sin. When you think that you can do any and everything and get away with it. A me problem is when you can’t see your sin because you’re trying to look at everybody else’s sin. You got a me problem. A child of God can’t say or do any and everything and not be visited by your conscious. You got a me problem. And you got to understand that the Holy Spirit convicts a born again believer of their sins. Am I right? And oh, you ought to have a rough time sleeping at night when you know that you’ve done wrong.

Oh, brothers and sisters, David says, “I’m a plagued man by my sins.” And he says, “They bother me to a great extent.” And I talked with David and I said, “Well now David, let me ask you something. Has they put your sins on the six o’clock news? Has the newspaper gotten a hold of your defects and shortcomings?” David answered and said, “No.” “Well then David has it become public knowledge of your sins? Do folk know what you’ve done? And you know some of us are just concerned about whether folk know about us or not. Do folk know? And you know Loving Peace, some folk feel that as long as they haven’t been found out by the people, they are wingless angels, but don’t you fool yourself, you’re nothing but a devil undercover. Can I get a witness? But rest assured that that which is done in the dark will sooner or later come to the light. Oh, brothers and sisters, do folk know about your sin? You know the sin that you’re talking about that is ever before you.

David says, “No.” Well then David what ails you? David says, “Even though the public don’t know, I do know at least four people who do know. The first one who knows about David sin is the Prophet Nathan. I need some Bible readers to help me. David says, “An old prophet by the name of Nathan knows about my sin.” He knows because it was Nathan who came to him. It was Nathan who indicted David with four words. “Thou art the man.” Loving Peace, be careful about who knows about your shortcoming. Some folk are concerned about your shortcoming. But there are some folk who will try to use your shortcoming as a stepping stone. Can I get a witness? Then there was a woman named Bathsheba who knew. She knew because it was her that David was with. She was David’s partner in crime to this sin. Can I get a witness? And then the last two who knew are the most disturbing. Because thirdly, God knew. And you can’t fool Him. God was aware of David’s sins. Loving Peace if you don’t’ understand anything else I said this morning, you need to understand that God’s eyes are in every place.

He’s beholding the evil and the good. God knows. Not only do God know all about us, but He has the power of life and death in His hands. God is aware of our sins. Can I get a witness? And fourthly and strangely possible to us, David says that the fourth person who knows is him. David knew himself that what he did was wrong. And my brothers and sisters, you got to learn that when you’ve done wrong, you got to live with yourself. And when you have done wrong, your memory is working against you. David says, every time I turn around, memory, keep bringing that situation back to him. You can’t run and get away from your sin. As soon as you cut around the corner, your sin would be right there beside you. My sin is ever before me. And my brothers and sisters, I think I ought to tell you that all of us under the sound of my voice, have been tainted and polluted by sin. Talk to me, if you can. All of us know something about sin.

All of us have done things that resulted in sin. When we walk contrary to the will of God, we sin. Now it may not have been the sin of adultery or murder or treachery and deceit, but we all have sinned. Therefore none of us can look down on somebody else all sanctimonious and self-righteous. We can’t be spiritual snobs feeling that you are above everybody else. We’ve all sinned and come short of the Glory of God. Bring your nose down out of the air. You ain’t all that. Help me somebody. Some folk who think that they are spiritually superior are spiritually confused. My memory recalls and keeps me reminded that I haven’t always been what I am now. Memory reminds me of my mistakes that I’ve made. Reminds me of problems and flaws in my own character. I’m not talking about someone else’s memory, I’m talking about my memories that are ever before me. David talks about his sin. But you know Loving Peace, I’m glad to report that when sin is plaguing you and when it’s ever before you, there’s hope. You don’t have to be overcome by your sins.

There’s a God who is able to bring you out. There’s deliverance. There’s escape from sin. David shows us that way. David made it to praying ground. David found a prayer closet and talked to God about His sins. That’s all you got to do. Somebody here today can testify to the fact that God will hear you if you pray and pray right. God will hear and answer your prayer. David went to His praying ground. And when you read the text, you can see that the entire Psalm is a prayer. Oh, Loving Peace, you need to pray about your weaknesses. You need to talk to God about your shortcomings. Talk to Him about your faults and your defects. Can I get a witness? David opens with a plea of mercy. I don’t care what folk try to tell you about what you need to do. You see mercy is what you need when you have fallen short. David says, “Have mercy on me oh God according to thy loving kindness, according to thy tender mercies.

Blot out my transgressions, wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” An on down in this Psalm, he talks about something else. He says, “Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight.” Oh, brothers and sisters, he talks some more and says, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.” But in verse 7, he says “Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean: wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.” You got a whole lot of folk who are dressed up on the outside, but messed up on the inside. I don’t care how much you bathe of shower, you can’t wash off sin. David came to realize that God and His grace and mercy provides and combines to provide a special detergent, a divine detergent.

You can’t get that off of the shelves of Winn Dixie or Food World. Calhoun Foods don’t sell this kind of detergent. My brothers and sisters, Tide can’t wash away your sins. Cheer can’t remove your sins. Clorox can’t take out the stain of sin. You can rub in all the Oil of Olay you want to, you can’t make sin vanish like that. Well, Hall, what can wash away my sin? I’m glad that you asked. Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh, brothers and sisters, David talks to the Lord about the divine detergent. Wash me and I’ll be cleanse whiter than snow. In this prayer of repentance, he goes on to say, “Create within me, oh God a clean heart and renew the right spirit within me.” He also says, “Cast me not away from thy presence. I know I’ve done wrong. I know I’ve committed a crime and my sin is great, but don’t cast me away. Don’t throw me away. Cast me not away from thy presence and take not the Holy Spirit from me.” Can’t you see yourself in David shoes saying, “Restore unto me the joy. I had something once that I don’t have now. I had something before I messed up that I don’t know now.” Loving Peace it must be understood that sin affect the fellowship and the relationship you have with others and with God.

Can I get a witness? Sin, my brothers and sisters will get you where no matter how many folk are shouting around you, you can’t feel a thing. Sin will get you where nothing moves you. You walk in the church cold and dead. You sit in the service cold and dead, watching your watch, crossing your legs and walked out of the church still cold and dead. Talk to me somebody. Somebody knows what I’m talking about. Sin tears up homes. Sin split families. Sin puts marriages on the rocks. Sin will make your children disrespect you. Hello somebody. Ain’t nobody mad but the devil and hope he ain’t got no friends in here. Sin, I’m talking about sin. Somebody knows. The old fashioned church use to preach and teach about sin. Can I get a witness? They would bring you before the church when you got too loose in your conduct. The modern day church don’t say very much about sin, but it sho need to. Folk want stuff sugar coated. Y’all get mad with me if you want to, but I ain’t sugar coating nothing. I’m going to call sin just what it is, sin. I heard folk say, “It won’t hurt to tell a little white lie.” Loving Peace, I don’t care how big a lie is or what color a lie is. A lie is a lie and if you lie at all it’s a sin. Sin is sin. We’ve got to stop white washing our sin. We’ve to stop trying to cover up. We’ve come to the point where we’re calling right wrong and wrong right. Have I a witness?


* But you know, as I hurry on to a close, I’ve discovered that redemption will not come until we confess of our wrong doing. It won’t come until we own up to our mistakes. Have mercy Lord. And well, David talked to the Lord and said, “I don’t feel close to you. I feel like you’re far away. And I know that you didn’t leave me, but Lord , I left you. But now Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me. Give me back what I use to have. Because Lord there was a time when I use to enjoy walking with you. There was a time when I was so close to you. It seems like that if I turned around quickly, I could catch a glimpse of you. There were times Lord when we were so close until I felt wrapped up, tangled up and tied up in you, but because I have sinned I lost that feeling. Something affected the relationship. Something destroyed the fellowship. And now Lord restore unto me the joy of thy salvation. You know I wonder this morning if there’s anybody here who can testify that it’s sweet to walk with the Lord? Anybody here knows it’s sweet to be called a child of God? Anybody here who can testify that everyday with Jesus is sweeter than the day before? Everyday with Jesus, I love Him more and more? Can I get a witness here? Well, David prayed and the prayed. And that God of ours heard his prayer.

And I know He heard his prayer. I know He heard it because in another Psalm, David says, “Oh Lord my heart is fixed and my mind is made up.” You know Loving Peace, nobody has to tell you when it’s been fixed. When it’s well with your soul, you can tell somebody that God is a merciful God.

Y’all don’t hear me today. I said, “God is a merciful God.” When it’s well with your soul, you can testify I messed up, but now I’m fixed up. I fell down, but the Lord picked me up. He restored the fellowship. The relationship is repaired and my house is in order and my business is fixed. Can I get a witness here? And I want to tell you as I get ready to go home. I couldn’t help but get happy thinking about David. I couldn’t help but get happy thinking about how he lost it and how he found it. How he lost it and how he regained it. How he lost it and how the Lord gave it back to him. Ain’t God alright? Is there anybody here who can testify that you fell short. There was time after you started walking with the Lord, that you went contrary to the Master’s will. There was a time when you were walking with Him, but you fell short and got on the wrong path. But look at you, you’re here today, and you can testify that you had a little talk with Jesus and you decided to tell Him all about your troubles and He heard your faintest cry.

And then you found out that He will answer, by and by. Somebody here can testify that just a little talk with Jesus will make everything alright. I don’t know about you this morning, but there’s been times when I went down on my knees and talked to the Lord and told Him, “Lord, I’m weak but thou art strong. Lord I need you to hold my hand.” And well, He restored the fellowship. He cleaned me up. I’m glad that repentance always get you a determination to turn from what messed you up. When the Lord delivers you, when the Lord brings you through, you ought to come shouting, come out rejoicing. Oh, I was bound but now I’m free. The shackles have been taken away. Sin messed me up, but through prayer, God fixed me up. And anything that sin messed up, that God of ours can fix up. Can I get a witness here? I’m going home when I tell you that I feel like a preacher. I feel alright. Somebody here knows that you’re fixed up. Things you use to do, you don’t do them any more, all because you’ve been fixed up.

The places you used to go, you don’t go there anymore, all because you’ve been fixed up. Want God fix it for you? I heard an old song writer say, “Trouble get in my way, I have to cry sometimes, but that’s alright, because Jesus will fix it after while.” It’s no secret what God can do, what He’s done for others, He’ll do the same thing for you. Ain’t God alright? Somebody here knows that the Lord is able to give you a new walk. He’s able to give you a new talk. To put some pep in your step. Put some Holy Ghost stride in your glide. Look at you now, you’re walking redeemed. If you’re here today and you know you’ve been redeemed, if you know you’ve been born again, if you know that you’ve been bought with a price, turn to somebody beside you and shake their hand. Hold their hand. Hold their hand and tell them these words. I once was sinking in sin, but the Lord stepped in and saved my soul.” Ain’t the Lord alright? Somebody ought to tell the Lord thank you.

Tell Him thank you. Somebody ought to help me tell Him thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you Lord for my joy. Thank you Lord for my peace of mind. Thank you Lord for a new walk and new talk. Has the Lord been good to you? And if He’s been good to you, I wonder will you wave your hands? Will you wave your hand? Will you wave your hand? I don’t mean no harm this morning. I don’t mean no harm, but you don’t know how good He’s been to me. You don’t know how good the Lord has been to me. Ain’t He alright? Ain’t He alright? Ain’t the Lord alright ? Say yeah, say yeah, say yeah, Oh ____yeah.