Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O Lord! Psalm 25:7
God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5
The sinful inclination of a men and women in their early years may be summarized as lust for the three G’s: Gold, Gals/Guys, and Gin. The glitter of gold can lead a man to abandon his family for the sake of his career and a higher salary, and better benefits. It can lead a woman to shopping sprees and maxed-out credit cards. Of course, it can be the other way around. Men are no less susceptible to overspending than women, and women can easily give themselves to climbing the career ladder at the expense of more important things of life. Who hasn’t heard of someone getting caught up in an affair, who has been seduced by smooth talk or good looks, and who has made a wreck of their lives and everyone close to them? Whether it’s gin or GHB, the pursuit of addictive drugs has ruined all too many lives.
Yes Lord. Do not remember the sins of my youth!
In later years those sins are replaced by other dangerous lusts: anger, criticism, and saying whatever comes to mind: in short open self-righteousness. After a while one learns that being good doesn’t pay off. The good guy gets left at the station. The good gal doesn’t get invited to the fun parties. Anger replaces pain. From that cauldron of bitterness flows criticism of others. All this leads to taking off the filters, speaking one’s mind – no matter the collateral damage it may cause. In a way such self-righteousness is even more dangerous and destructive. For we may forget that we need grace if we feel we deserve to be angry, judgmental, and vociferous. If we believe we’ve earned the right to say what’s on our mind, what is there to repent of.
Lord, convict me of these sins of my later years!
I have twin fears as I move into the latter third of my life’s span. One is losing my mind, not being able to remember what I need to remember, becoming senile, suffering from dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease. Another is being found out – that I actually need the mercy of God and forgiveness of sins.
But don’t we all?