The connection between these two passages is transparency. David chose to be honest and open about his sin—can’t get much more open than writing a song about it. And Philemon was forced to be open and honest about his need to forgive Onesimus.
A friend of mine started a church in Canada years ago that God blessed with many conversions. It became over 500 hundred attenders that were mostly new believers. Laura and I were able to do two marriage conferences there over the years, and it was so encouraging to see how teachable and hungry the people were. Often what we taught was the first time they had ever heard it, and they just assumed that if the Bible says that, they need to obey it. It was so much fun.
This same pastor friend said that one time they started a small group for men struggling with pornography. Again, lots of new believers who don’t know how church is done. They don’t know they are supposed to pretend they don’t struggle with lust. The church announced it and put a sign up on the church bulletin board and MEN SIGNED UP! I cannot imagine that happening in the churches I’ve known. Most Christians are way too private about their spiritual lives, and especially their spiritual failures. Would men sign up at your church where others could see their names?
I’ve been thinking about two passages in the Bible that seem to have a commonality that I never noticed before. Psalm 51 is a familiar psalm that we recognize as David’s song of repentance after his sin with Bathsheba. I’ve read it many times for my own soul’s benefit, and I’ve pointed others to it to encourage repentance.
But recently I thought about it as an example of David’s transparency about a major failure. The superscription says David wrote it after Nathan came to him after he had gone in to Bathsheba. The superscription is not subtle—