Yahweh judges the peoples; Judge me, O Yahweh, according to my righteousness and my integrity that is in me, (Psalm 7:8).
There are some Biblical passages that I can’t pray as they are written; I don’t say that others can’t pray them, I only say that I can’t pray them as they are written; this is one of them. In this instance I can’t base my approach or my appeal to God on my own righteousness or integrity, for at my core I don’t have either – yet at my core I have both in Christ.
Because I am one of those included in the Scriptures, All we like sheep have gone astray…and all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, because I know my capacity for rebellion against God, and because like Chesterton’s Father Brown I know that I am the criminal in all crimes, I simply cannot appeal to my own righteousness or integrity in my approach and appeal to God. The Good News is that I can appeal to Jesus and that I now approach God in Jesus – my Advocate, my Righteousness, my Integrity, for my life is now “in Christ”. So when I pray words such as Psalm 7:8 I pray them with a consciousness of both my incapacity for righteousness and of the righteousness of Jesus Christ – resting in the latter in my appeal and approach to God my Father and not dwelling on the former. He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2Corinthians 5:21; see also 1Corinthians 1:30 – 31).