Pe–Streams of Tears

I’ll just focus in on a single verse in the “Pe” section of Ps 119 (verses 129-136), the final one:

136 Streams of tears flow from my eyes,
   for your law is not obeyed.

The reason this verse is important is that it puts all the “hate” verses of the Psalm into a fresh light. The Psalmist has said in v104 and v128 that he hates every wrong path, then in v113 that he hates double-minded people, and later on declares that he hates falsehood. We might be tempted to think that he has a judgemental, bigoted outlook. But his tears tell another story. They reveal a deep love for God and a compassion for both the sinner and those sinned against.

Of course it is Jesus who sets the example for us in how it is possible to love the sinner while hating sin. Ps 45:6-7 (c.f. Heb 1:8-9) prophesies that Jesus will both “love righteousness” and “hate wickedness”. There is nothing wrong when the evil and injustice in the world causes godly anger to rise within us. But if there are no tears, it reveals that the love of God has not taken root in our hearts, and what we attempt to pass off as a passion for righteousness is more likely a symptom of self-righteousness.

Check out a recent post from John Piper applying this verse to a recent gay pride celebration in his city.

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