The upside of being forgiven.
This is a poem about your relationship to your sense of your own evil. Believers and non believers are hardly different in this. Everyone has a sinful nature.
We all have lots of sin that we don’t know about, probably. You can tell this because you often meet people who have massive faults they are barely aware of, so it follows logically that you could have them too, even if you you’re not aware of them…
Also some sin we are aware of but forgive ourselves of. Indulgences.
Some sin that eats us up with guilt. It can make life a living hell.
But… only believers believe the cosmic promise of rightness with their creator, that the centre of the universe is love, and against all odds, despite everything, they are loved. And it’s a fantastic, light feeling. A wonderful way to be.
The psalm compares it to being surrounded by songs, unafraid of rising waters (not just a metaphorical threat these days), protected, safe, and watched out for by God’s loving eye; glad, joyous, singing and enveloped in love.
The images of being controlled by sin are vivid: it leaves you groaning and weighed down, saps your energy like a hot summer day.
It robs you of judgement and understanding. You still answer to God, but your relationship to him is like a horse being controlled by bit in its mouth. People who accept forgiveness are more like children, who learn and actually come to understand God’s mind.
I’m tempted to default to thinking Christianity is a bargain, you pay by losing some fun and freedom, but gain by getting god. But this psalm is a great reminder, sin sucks equally for everyone, there is no substitute for being free of it.