It's a tough, vulnerable act to receive God's love. It can seem brutal. We want to perform, accomplish and achieve. We even want to 'achieve' our own grace. But then, it wouldn't be grace. We strain in vain.
Psalm 51 (and Psalm 32) reveals David's heart following the revelation and processing of his affair with Bathsheba. See 2nd Samuel 11 and 12 to review the story.
In Psalm 51 David says,
‘…going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.” Psalm 51:16-17
If anyone knew flawless performances it was David. He killed lions and bears, slew Goliath, fought and won many battles and was a talented musician and poet. Oh yes, he was God's annointed King of Israel too.
Yet, not even he could escape the truths that God does tremendous work in our souls through our suffering and that God stands ready to pour his grace when we approach him with who we really are.
Eugene Peterson says this about suffering, "Perhaps the greatest mystery in suffering is how it can bring a person into the presence of God in a state of worship, full of wonder, love, and praise." Both parties in a marriage dealing with an affair experience suffering. Yes, you can say 'amen' if you know what I'm talking about.
Heart shattered lives ready for love don't for a moment escape God's notice. God sees you and your suffering. He longs for you to just come to Him with your real self and be with him, receive from him. It's impossible to make up for what you did. It is possible to open your eyes to the full impact of your actions on your own soul and the souls of those you love.
If you were the one betrayed sometimes a subtle superiority can slip into your marriage. "At least I didn't go have sex with somebody else." The superiority may feel justified. Own that as sin too. That attitude can create a barrier for your spouse to receive God's grace, not to mention keeping you stuck in a place where God will need to shatter your pride to reach you.
For all of us it's possible, like David found out, to experience grace with our eyes open to the depth of our own sin, in the depth of our suffering.
For David’s sin, and ours, is wildly outdone by God’s grace.