Psalms  ◦   Chapter 51

1Be merciful to me, O God,
because you are unfailing love.
Because you are compassionate,
eradicate my sinfulness.

2Cleanse me from all deviations from your design
and wash away all my selfishness.

3For I know how horrible is my departure from your love,
and thoughts of my selfish acts constantly oppress me.

4Against you — above all others — have I sinned,
I have chosen what is evil in your eyes;
so that you are proved right and true in what you say
and proved to be right when you are judged.

5Behold the reality of the situation: I was selfish when I was born —
selfish from the moment my mother conceived me.

6Behold another reality: You will restore love and honesty into my inmost self;
you will write your wisdom into my heart.

7Purge my heart with your remedy and I will be renewed;
wash me and I will be whiter than snow.

8Restore to me joy and gladness;
remove the crushing guilt and shame from me.

9Please don’t look at the mess I have made
but erase all my selfishness from within me.

10Create in me a selfless and pure heart, O God,
and put a new and loyal mind within me.

11Don’t banish me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.

12Restore to me the joy of your healing and restoration
and grant me a willing mind to comply with your treatment plan.

13Then I will teach your healing ways to those out of harmony with your design,
and the selfish will turn to you.

14Remove from me the heart of a murderer, O God —
my Creator who transforms me —
and I will sing of your righteousness.

15O Lord, inspire the words of my mouth
and I will proclaim the beauty of your character.

16You do not desire animal sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not want ritual offerings.

17The sacrifice you desire is a humble and teachable attitude;
a broken and repentant heart
you will not reject, O God.

18Because the people of Zion are your helpers,
enable them to spread the truth,
and strengthen the defenses of Jerusalem.

19Then the animal sacrifices will become effective teaching tools
and ritual offerings that enlightened minds will please you;
then bulls will again be properly offered on your altar.