No matter what your religion of choice, you have most likely heard the story of David, the boy who slew the giant Goliath with a slingshot and grew up to ascend the throne of Israel and become its king.
But if that’s all we remember about him, we miss so much of what made this baffled king worthy of the title.
David was no saint. In the Olympics of sinning, he is one of the Bible’s gold medal winners.
God constantly tested David to bring out the best in him. In the process, it also brought out the not-so-best in him.
David was already king when he faced — and lost — his greatest battle.
He’s the one who inspired Leonard Cohen’s song, “Hallelujah.”
His faith was strong but he needed proof
He saw her bathing on the roof
The bathing woman was Bathsheba, and David just had to have her!
But there was one small problem. Bathsheba was married. David, however, wouldn’t let that detail get in the way.
So, he did what was in his power to make the problem go away. He sent Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, to the front lines of battle so he would be killed.
“But wait,” you say. “I don’t like that David. I prefer the little guy with the slingshot. Why did you bring up that lying, cheating, murderer and ruin the story for me?”
Because it’s by “ruining” the story that you learn its greatest lesson.
It’s later in the narrative, when David recognizes what he has done, that he becomes an even greater king.
But the road between recognition and repentance is littered with guilt and regret.
It’s a cold and it’s a very broken Hallelujah
In a secular translation: Recognizing his sin and vowing to never do it again, leads David to the peace and purpose he had been so desperately seeking.
He must also recognize that God put temptation in his path and allowed him to sin for the very purpose of bringing them closer together.
God does the same for us. She uses our humanity, our flaws, and through the trial by the fire of Her unconditional love, transforms us.
Love is not some kind of victory march; It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah
You don’t relate to the God thing?
OK, let me again translate this lesson so you can understand it in a secular context to which you can better relate.
If we never do really, really “bad” things — if we never miss the mark (which, by the way, is what the word “sin” means) — we can never have compassion for those whose humanity leads them to stumble over and over again.
“The Hallelujah, the David’s Hallelujah, was still a religious song,” its composer said. “So I wanted to indicate that Hallelujah can come out of things that have nothing to do with religion.”
I’m not advocating committing a moral misstep so that you get closer to God. But I am suggesting that you shed the sins of your past, and know that it’s by accepting your flaws that you touch the unconditional love of Eternity.
And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand right here before the Lord of song
With nothing, nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah
Give thanks. Embrace your flaws. Rejoice in them. Because it’s only those who are most flawed who can fully open themselves to receive Life’s gifts.