“Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from wilful sins; may they not rule over me.” Psalm 19:12-13
David wanted to have a pure heart before God and he understood that he wasn’t always objective enough to discern his hidden faults. In Leviticus, there was a particular sin offering for unintentional sins.
To deal with sin we acknowledge it, confess it and repent. In order to deal with “hidden faults,” we first need God to show us what our hidden faults are. David also wrote, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts” (Psalm 139:23). It’s important that God does the searching. It’s easy to deceive ourselves into thinking our motives are pure but God reveals our true intent.
Sometimes we can be busy pursuing a particular course of action and it may not even occur to us there’s a problem with our attitude. For this reason, part of our prayer time should be spent listening to God. In times gone by a prayer called the examen was prayed at the end of the day which required a person to think through the day with God and allow him to bring to mind any wrong thinking or attitudes, as well as our more obvious sins.
It’s challenging to let God search us, to purify not only our actions but the intentions of our heart, allowing God to deal with both our “hidden faults” and “wilful sins.” Will David’s next words also be our prayer? “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord” (verse 14 ).