Sins of My Youth

One of my gifts is beating myself up.  In some contexts I manage to give the impression that I am quite self-assured – self-confident.  The truth is far from that.  One of my areas of weakness is in the area of emotion.  I was a very passionate person growing up and that passion led to impulsive decision making and poor judgment.  Decisions have consequences, and although God kept me alive, some of the decisions that I made affected other people deeply.  One reaction to this passion was to sever it.  The other reaction to my passion was to condemn myself whenever I think back to those times.

Because of this, I can associate with the psalmist’s plea that God not remember his sin from his youth.  However, what God graciously forgets I have a tendency to unearth.  I get anxious about my past revisiting me.  I worry about people who knew me recounting who I was.

In Japanese class this week I talked a little about my time in Japan.  I remembered running up the walls of Kochi castle at 2:00 a.m. and going to an udon-noodle stand to have a snack afterward.  As I was having fun recounting those times with friends, I also remembered what a fool I was there.  I was a different person.  Despite being a fool, though, I was not weighed down by guilt.  I have corrected one error by possibly replacing it with a bigger one.  A good question to ask yourself, if you too regret who you were, is, “Have I punished myself enough by now?”  Fortunately that question allows me to show a little of the grace toward myself that God shows me.

Psalm 25

1 In you, LORD my God,
   I put my trust.

 2 I trust in you;
   do not let me be put to shame,
   nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
   will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
   who are treacherous without cause.

 4 Show me your ways, LORD,
   teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
   for you are God my Savior,
   and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, LORD, your great mercy and love,
   for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
   and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
   for you, LORD, are good.

 8 Good and upright is the LORD;
   therefore he instructs sinners in his ways.
9 He guides the humble in what is right
   and teaches them his way.
10 All the ways of the LORD are loving and faithful
   toward those who keep the demands of his covenant.
11 For the sake of your name, LORD,
   forgive my iniquity, though it is great.

 12 Who, then, are those who fear the LORD?
   He will instruct them in the ways they should choose.[b]
13 They will spend their days in prosperity,
   and their descendants will inherit the land.
14 The LORD confides in those who fear him;
   he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever on the LORD,
   for only he will release my feet from the snare.

 16 Turn to me and be gracious to me,
   for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
   and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
   and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
   and how fiercely they hate me!

 20 Guard my life and rescue me;
   do not let me be put to shame,
   for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
   because my hope, LORD,[c]is in you.

 22 Deliver Israel, O God,
   from all their troubles!

Questions

  1. Why do you think the psalmist trusts in a righteous God despite sin in his youth?
  2. Knowing David, what kinds of things did he want God to forget about him?
  3. How does David show that he has a strong emotional relationship with God?
  4. How does God forget your past mistakes and help you to do likewise?
  5. Do you have a strong sense of emotional security with God?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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