Our Life to Life group had an edifying discussion about the different kinds of Psalms and the different blessings that they bring. There are Psalms for taunting enemies and Psalms for confessing sin. There are Psalms that remind us that God is near even when He feels far off, there are Psalms that remind us that He is for all those who fear Him. There are many human experiences, there are many works of the Lord, there are many songs in our arsenal for all those situations.
We ought to be able to sing any of the lyrics when appropriate. We can sing how blessed is the one who dashes the enemies little ones against the rock (Psalm 137:9), we can sing of our heart’s desperation for the Lord’s presence (Psalm 42:1-2). There is a way that both of them can be acceptable to the Lord, and also a way that both of those angles can be ruined. What makes either like playing the cymbals with swords is self-righteousness.
Singing triumphant lyrics with a smug heart is like jumping on the drums; the words may be right but the heart is out of rhythm. Singing lyrics of sadness with self-pity, with an attitude that isolates, with a “no one understands or feels my pain” perspective doesn’t fit. For that matter, listening to others praise the Lord for victory or pray to the Lord for help in trouble with the filter of self-righteousness is no better.
What would be of greatest dissonance is confessing our sins (like Psalm 51:1-2) with self-righteousness, as if we thought we were better than others because we thought we were more honest to God about our transgressions than others. May it never be.