God accepted David’s claim—“my heart is not haughty”—as sincere, in spite of the fact that it was not made by a sinless individual. David was not claiming sinless perfection. The Bible teaches us that anyone claiming to be sinless is only deceiving himself (1John 1:8). He is certainly not deceiving God or others. He is only deceiving himself into believing that his false claim is fooling anybody.
Not only is David not claiming sinless perfection, he is also not claiming to be beyond the reach of sinful pride, a cardinal sin always crouching at the door of the human heart. According to the Apostle Paul, “He who thinks he stands should take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12). David was in no way claiming to be so spiritually sturdy on his feet that he was beyond all danger of ever falling. He knew, as all men should, that no man is closer to stumbling than he who claims to be sure-footed.
When the Titanic set sail on its maiden voyage, it was advertised as the world’s first unsinkable ship. Of course, it never returned to port, having sunk on its maiden voyage in the deep, cold waters of the North Atlantic. Many a man has claimed to be unsinkable, only to be last seen sinking into some unforeseen, stormy sea of life.
David knew all too well how quickly pride could rise in his heart and how swiftly he could fall into deplorable sin. The “matter of Uriah the Hittite” was a constant reminder to him of his susceptibility to pride and temptation (1 Kings 15:5). We can safely conclude, therefore, that David is neither claiming in this psalm to be impervious to temptation or immune to haughtiness. Instead, he is simply stating that he no longer held a conceited opinion of himself or a contemptuous opinion of others.
Both a humble view of oneself and a charitable view of others are necessary prerequisites to the calming and quieting of the human soul. No one stuck on himself or scornful of others has any hope of ever reaching the spiritual summit of soul serenity.
No one who looks up to himself or down upon others will ever be able to calm or quiet his tempestuous soul.