Psalm 39 (Part 2 of 3): My Worst Is Also A Mere Breath

“With reproofs You chasten a man for iniquity; You consume as a moth what is precious to him; surely every man is a mere breath.” (Psalm 39:11)

“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst. Then the nations will know that I am the LORD,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I prove Myself holy among you in their sight.'” (Ezekiel 36:22-23)

A few days ago i wrote that my best is a mere breath, and that was addressed to the perfectionists in us. But for the pessimists, I say: my worst is also a mere breath.

In our church’s parenting support group, sometimes I would hear parents beat themselves up about a certain mistake they make in parenting, purportedly causing their kids to suffer, to be scarred emotionally, or to lose an opportunity for growth. When I really reflect on this, though, I think we’re giving way too much to our own sins and failures. We’re even giving way too much credit to the devil. It’s as if we’re attributing great power to our mistakes in influencing our children to turn bad. Even when admitting our failures, we have a pride issue.

Ahaz is one of the most wicked king in Israel’s history. Yet he brought up his child Hezekiah, one of the most righteous king in Israel’s history (2 Kings 18). On the other hand, prophet Samuel is one of the most respected prophets, yet his sons turn away from God (1 Samuel 8:1-3). If God wanted to work His goodness in the lives of people around us, He will influence them for His name’s sake despite our own failures or so-called successes.

So what are we to do then? Does that mean I shouldn’t care what I do since God takes care of the results? Not really. It is said that being a parent, you are 100% responsible for how your children turn out, but you accomplish that by teaching the children that they themselves are 100% responsible for they turn out. I think this is how God parents us. God is 100% responsible for how we turn out, but He teaches us that we are actually 100% responsible for how we turn out.