“See if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Psalm 139:24)
“Hurtful way” here is literally, “way of pain.” Our sinful, or ungodly ways, are “hurtful”, “painful” to ourselves and to others. They are not merely violations of some arbitrary rules which God decided to give us. He gave us His commands because they encapsulate the way that is best for us. He wants us to worship and trust Him because He designed us to do that and it is healthy for us. When we do not trust Him, and when we violate His commandments, we enter “the way of pain” which brings harm upon ourselves and others:
— When we do not trust Him, we bring the pain of anxiety upon ourselves (:23)
— When we choose to abuse substances, we bring pain upon our own body, as well as all kinds of pain to ourselves and those we love.
— When we commit adultery, we enter “the way of pain” for ourselves, our spouse, our children, family members, and others.
— When we compromise in business, it brings pain to those whom we are cheating, and to ourselves when we are discovered.
Whenever we break God’s commandments, we are entering “the way of pain.” That is why David prays here: “See if there be any hurtful way in me.” There are undoubtedly hurtful, painful ways yet lodged in each of us. The lie we believe is that that they are actually better for us, and will somehow bring us more pleasure, than obeying God. They won’t. They are just what David calls them here: “hurtful”; “painful.” We would do well to follow David’s example, and ask God to search us and cleanse us from every “way of pain.”