“Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways.” – Psalm 25:7
My hairline began receding at an early age, shortly after graduating high school and going off to college. Slowly and gradually over the years it has matured into a perfect horseshoe-shaped bald spot framed around the edges by a remnant of gray hair which I keep meticulously trimmed.
Since I have always known I was genetically inclined, being bald has never bothered me. If fact, I’m sort of fond of the attention I receive, the teasing and nicknames, especially nowadays from my grandchildren. There was even a time back in my twenties and thirties when I was convinced that if my face and scalp were well tanned it gave me great sex appeal, so I spent a lot of time in the sun without protection. Today I’m paying the price, mostly in frequent trips to the dermatologist. . . Gee, I wish I hadn’t done that!
We all have skeletons in our closets, don’t we, things we did when we were young that (in the spirit of Halloween) haunt us? I certainly do, most too shameful and embarrassing to mention, my sun-damaged scalp being one of the few I’m willing to admit out loud.
How often are we like King David, praying please, please, please, “remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways.” And by God’s grace we are indeed forgiven of those poor choices we made. But while God may forgive us, and we may even forgive ourselves, seldom do we forget what we had done. “Gee, I wish I hadn’t done that!” we cry out in regret.
Sometimes, though, I think our remembering the sins and rebellious ways of our youth is as much a part of God’s grace as His forgiveness of them. How much more judgmental and lacking compassion would I be toward others, I wonder, had I not erred so often myself? And what kind of parent would I have been had I not made mistakes and poor choices in my own life? Gee, I still wish I hadn’t done those things, though. But, O how masterfully God in his grace redeems our sins and shortcomings, either through our encouragement of others to not make those same mistakes, or having enough compassion to rescue them when they do.