Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge
King David had raped Bathsheba and was planning to kill her husband. He had a lot to be sorry about. Personally, I think he was a bit delusional in thinking that the only sin he committed was against God. David used his power and authority to have sex with Bathsheba; manipulated a scene of war in order to destroy the love of her life; and claimed Bathsheba as a prize. It seems to me that David had a LOT to be sorry for.
Feeling remorseful toward God was a start, perhaps with some healing he would be able to see other aspects of the terrible things he did to Bathseba and her family.
Hopefully you haven’t gotten yourself in as deep a mess, but even if you have, it’s important to remember that God is still with you. The combination of sorrow and guilt can really gnaw on a person.
But back to David and God. Note how despite the egregious nature of David’s sin (yeah, that’s the word for it) he believed that there was hope for him. He believed that somehow God could right his wrongs. He believed that the Holy would take action so that David could do better in the future and teach others the folly of his ways. David had faith that the love of God was/is bigger and stronger than the things that David did wrong. God could heal David, and in doing so, free him to bring that healing to others...perhaps even to Bathsheba.
I can remember feeling such remorse after missing an important conversation with my kids. I had chosen to do some work on my computer, or go to a meeting, both of which could have waited for a bit. I can remember the dejected look in their eyes. I can remember the love that forgave me, even if it didn’t understand why I didn’t have time when they really needed me. How come I had time for other people? Was the meeting about wallpapering a room in the church building more important than a conversation about how my child had been bullied at school?
My heart still hurts when I think of the many times I’ve made a bad choice. Perhaps you have similar hurts that go with different circumstances. Remorse is a heavy thing to live with, and, it can get in the way of a healthy relationship.
Let’s take a chance that despite the awful things he did to Bathsheba and her husband, David was right about God’s healing love.
Try to identify a particular event that you are feeling remorseful about. See it. Smell it. Hear it. Taste it. Just for a moment. Just for long enough to get a Subjective Unit of Distress on the event (if you are new to tapping prayer, check out my basic recipe here to learn more about SUDs). Write down your SUD and when you are ready, please take responsibility for your participation in tapping prayer, and let’s pray!
Karate chop: Well, I messed up, God. I did something really terrible and now I am filled with remorse. I wish I could go back and do things differently. I wish I hadn’t caused the pain I caused with the actions I took. I feel awful. I feel overwhelmed by the awful and I can’t think of how I can move forward with my life. I need your help. I need your attention on this remorse I am feeling. Even though I am feeling remorse, I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God. Even though I caused someone else a lot of pain and discomfort, and I feel badly about that, I am gently held in the loving arms of God. Even though I feel terrible about what I did, I am completely loved and deeply accepted by God.
Top of head: I am feeling remorseful.
Eyebrow: I feel so sad about what I did to...............
Outer eye: I am guilty of hurting..................
Under eye: I feel terrible about what I did.
Under nose: I really betrayed a trust.
Under lip: My relationship with.......is hurting because of what I did.
Collarbone: I broke..................................
Underarms: I feel awful about hurting.............
Wrists: This heavy feeling of remorse.
Top of head: Even though I am carrying this heavy feeling of remorse, I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God.
Eyebrow: Maybe I hurt..........because I was hurting.
Outer eye: Now we’re both hurting and I’m feeling guilty.
Under eye: I guess that didn’t work out the way I hoped it would
Under nose: Now I feel stupid, too.
Under lip: Maybe I thought...........deserved to be hurt.
Collarbone: Maybe..........did deserve to be hurt.
Underarms: I feel deep remorse for what I did to.............Maybe I was wrong. I feel like I was wrong. If I was right I probably wouldn’t feel such remorse.
Wrists: Even if.............deserved it, I am feeling sad and sorry for what I did.
Top of head: Even if I am feeling sad and sorry for what I did, I am deeply loved and completely held in God’s constant care.
Eyebrow: I wonder how I would feel if...........had done what I did?
Outer eye: I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God.
Under eye: …........is deeply loved and completely accepted by God.
Under nose: I feel good about hurting................
Under lip: I feel terrible about hurting..........
Collarbone: I can see the hurt in......eyes. I can hear the pain in.......’s voice. I can feel my breathing change as I think about what I did to.................
Underarms: God knows where my remorse is blocking me from peace.
Wrists: I have this deep remorse for what I did.
Top of head: Even though I have this deep remorse for what I did, I am deeply loved and completely accepted by God.
And take a deep breath...and thank you God for attending to the remorse that is keeping me from peace. Thank you for sending your spirit to heal the events in my life that keep me from moving forward in healthy ways. Amen.
Try thinking about the event that you felt remorseful about. What is its SUD now? What new issues or aspects of the event are keeping you from feeling a SUD of 0-2? I believe that David was right about God’s desire to heal us when we mess up...no matter how big the mess! Keep bringing your issues to God until you feel that 0-2 peace. Once you are there, then try thinking about how you can begin to make amends and heal the relationship that has been hard to resolve. God will go with you in that healing, too. Count on it. Better yet, tap on it.