This summer I will be completing a practicum for my studies. I sensed I needed to go to a place where I would be stretched, taught and mentored. Enter: YWAN Olongapo City, Philippines. Their Mercy Ministry with human trafficking victims intrigued me, as did their desire for intentional community with the marginalized, and their desire to see freedom and redemption for all.
One of my demands will be not only to engage girls caught in prostitution, but pimps as well.
I need more information about how this plays out in Olongapo, but here is a smack-you-in-the-face-rubber-meets-the-road moment: pimps, traffickers, johns all need the grace and love of God too. I've agreed with this all along. It's just… how do I go about building relationships with both victim and victimizer, exploited and exploiter, slave and oppressor?
Psalm 51 finds David begging for forgiveness after his atrocities concerning Bathsheba. Here, the offender prostrates himself in a plea for mercy and finds that a contrite heart is what God desired all along. May I be such a reflection of God that while evil within us must be confronted, there is always hope even for those I believe to be the most vile… even me.
The Allegri choral piece, Miserere Mei Deus, puts the psalm to music. Will never be able to express the depth and anguish and hope this piece opens wide within. Take a listen for yourself.
Miserere mei, Deus: secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum, dēlē iniquitatem meam.
Amplius lavā me ab iniquitate mea: et peccato meo mundā me.
Quoniam iniquitatem meam ego cognōscō: et peccatum meum contra me est semper.
Tibi soli peccāvī, et malum coram te fēcī: ut justificeris in sermonibus tuis, et vincās cum judicaris.
Ecce enim in inquitatibus conceptus sum: et in peccatis concepit me mater mea.
Ecce enim veritatem dilexisti: incerta et occulta sapientiae tuae manifestasti mihi.
Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo, et mundābor: lavābis me, et super nivem dēalbābor.
Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam: et exsultabunt ossa humiliata.
Averte faciem tuam a peccatis meis: et omnes iniquitates meas dele.
Cor mundum crea in me, Deus: et spiritum rectum innova in visceribus meis.
Ne projicias me a facie tua: et spiritum sanctum tuum ne auferas a me.
Redde mihi laetitiam salutaris tui: et spiritu principali confirma me.
Docebo iniquos vias tuas: et impii ad te convertentur.
Libera me de sanguinibus, Deus, Deus salutis meae: et exsultabit lingua mea justitiam tuam.
Domine, labia mea aperies: et os meum annuntiabit laudem tuam.
Quoniam si voluisses sacrificium, dedissem utique: holocaustis non delectaberis.
Sacrificium Deo spiritus contribulatus: cor contritum, et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies.
Benigne fac, Domine, in bona voluntate tua Sion: ut aedificentur muri Jerusalem.
Tunc acceptabis sacrificium justitiae, oblationes, et holocausta: tunc imponent super altare tuum vitulos.
Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness:
According unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.
Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.
O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.
For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.
Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.