The Aids Psalm
There has been a lot written about Aids and the experiences of the Aids patient in the Media.
- Movies about victims and their families.
- Pilgrimages around the country with quilts and pictures.
- Countless books articles written about the feelings and frustrations of the Aids victims.
In all of this, Christians have been relegated to being hard-hearted, narrow-minded people who don't care or simply condemn those with this terrible disease when it has been contracted through homosexual activity. In many cases there accusations are accurate.
Christians were quick to condemn and judge those with Aids but slow offer any kind of help or comfort. Many Christians spoke out of anger, disgust, or fear rather than simply preaching the truth in an attitude of love about this sin, like we would about any other.
Of course what the Media never does is report what the Bible actually says about these matters - especially those parts which deal with the pain and suffering of those victimized by sin (whether it be the sin of greed, pride, sexual misconduct, anger or any other sin). Both the Old Testament / New Testament condemn in no uncertain terms the practice of homosexuality.
- Leviticus 18:22 - "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable."
- I Corinthians 6:9 - "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders."
Now, the Bible doesn't just condemn sin it also provides hope and encouragement to those who have sinned and suffer from the consequences of those sins. One such instance is a psalm written by David (who was no stranger to serious sin - adultery, murder, political hypocrisy and cover-up).
In this psalm David goes through the phases that every victim of sin must go through (including the Modern Aids patient) in order to reach peace with self and God.
Psalm 6: The Sinner's Aids Psalm
There is no certain history of this psalm. Many believe it was written by a man who recognizes his own failures and is suffering because of the decisions and actions that he has made in life.
O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your wrath.
- Psalms 6:1
Here David expresses the natural, human fear that the pain he is experiencing is the direct result of God's rebuke (Judging him now).
We often think that our illnesses, our misfortune is God directly showing His rejection of us. This is what makes the suffering hard to bear - because we think God is causing it - cause we've been bad. Of course there are times when God directly sends a curse but He usually warns the people first when this happens (i.e. Noah, Sodom).
The Bible says that suffering is the result of sin, not God punishing or rejecting:
- Direct result
- steal = prison
- alcohol = illness
- Homosexual = Aids
- Indirect result
- Homosexual = Aids = Hemophiliacs.
The author hopes that God is not expressing his final judgement on him. Aids is not the final judgement of God, it is the natural result of sinfulness.
- In the beginning it was primarily spread through homosexual contact.
- Could have been avoided if God's commands against these things had been obeyed … but they weren't and so here we are.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am pining away;
Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed.
- Psalms 6:2
Here there is a direct plea for healing.
Once the individual begins to experience the pain and ravages of the illness the first and most natural thing to do is to ask God to make it go away. For some, this point is never reached because they have no faith. They deny it and pretend they can ignore or will it to go away.
They drown their fear, anger and pain in the "cause" of their disease becoming martyrs, spoke persons. Most die in ignorance, too proud to acknowledge the true cause of their death, preferring to die without remorse than a life of repentance.
And my soul is greatly dismayed;
But You, O Lord—how long?
- Psalms 6:3
Either way the believer and the disbeliever usually come to a point where reality can no longer be denied and death is imminent.
Even when one comes to faith sometimes there is no deliverance from death and this realization is always a surprise and a let down. Just because you believe, or repent or ask for healing doesn't mean you will be!
4Return, O Lord, rescue my soul;
Save me because of Your lovingkindness.
5For there is no mention of You in death;
In Sheol who will give You thanks?
- Psalms 6:4-5
Here the believer and the unbeliever part company because one is savoring his last experience of earth and the other begins to reach out for then next experience of heaven.
In these verses the writer recognizes that it is his soul that needs saving, not his body (it is the soul that goes to Sheol). This is a key moment in every person's life whether he is afflicted with a disease or not.
The realization that it's the spirit that lives, and lives on and we need to assure its progression.The world keeps us busy taking care of our bodies, which everyone knows only have a limited time to function - and we ignore the important issue of our soul's salvation. The pain and suffering of the writer has brought this point into sharp focus, as it does for most people who experience life threatening situations - if only we could see it when we are well.
6I am weary with my sighing;
Every night I make my bed swim,
I dissolve my couch with my tears.
7My eye has wasted away with grief;
It has become old because of all my adversaries.
- Psalms 6:6-7
Here the writer finally accepts situation. Grief resolution counsellors tell us that "acceptance" is not just accepting the reality of the situation…
For example: This is Aids, this is serious, people die of Aids.
True acceptance is realizing and accepting that this is my reality.
For example: I have Aids, I am very ill and I am going to die.
In accepting, David acknowledges that the disease, the suffering has won over the body and all the tears, anger, rationalization or prayers are not going to change things at this point. Sometimes our faith must accept that a good God has allowed a bad thing to happen to us irregardless of whether we deserve it or not.
8Depart from me, all you who do iniquity,
For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
9The Lord has heard my supplication,
The Lord receives my prayer.
10All my enemies will be ashamed and greatly dismayed;
They shall turn back, they will suddenly be ashamed.
- Psalms 6:8-10
But here, for this time, faith does have the last word even if disease has the momentary say.
Here the author makes a cry of victory in the knowledge that God will save the soul even if He allows the body to be claimed by the disease. In this case the enemies of faith and goodness have lost their battle to force their victim to abandon God because of suffering. He personifies the enemy as being ashamed because it has taken a life - yes, but has failed to destroy a soul. In the end the soul will live on to glorify God in eternity defeating the enemy who tried to dishonor it by turning it away in disbelief and despair.
The enemy (disease) tried to kill the soul by making it disbelieve - fear of disease.To die of Aids is no dishonor if one dies in Christ because all die for one sin or another.
I don't think too many of us has Aids but there are some lessons for all of us here:
1. Sin Kills
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Romans 6:23
Disease, accidents, old age do the job but it's sinfulness that destroys both our bodies and our souls. In order to deal with death, we must deal with the sin in our lives, not just disease.
2. Faith is What Saves
Therefore having been justified by faith, we have peace through our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Romans 5:1
Miracle drugs, medical breakthroughs can slow down the disease, buy us a few more months or years. The final solution to the inevitable death caused by sin is to be forgiven for our sins and guarantee our eternal lives in heaven with God.
Jesus did not come to save our bodies, our countries, our earth - He came to save our souls from the sure destruction that these will undergo. Something will get us, if not Aids then a drunken driven or a heart attack but those in Christ will have no fear, no regrets because like David they will have understood that it's the soul that needs saving, that lives forever - not the body.
I hope none of you or yours will ever experience this terrible disease. I hope all can live long enough to see Christ come with His angels to take us away to be with Him in heaven. But if we don't make it to that day, let's be sure that our souls are safe with God through faith in Jesus today. If you need prayer or baptism respond tonight.