"DO NOT REMEMBER THE SINS OF MY YOUTH"
By Wayne S. Walker
"Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness’ sake, O LORD" (Psalm 25:7). At one time or another when we were younger, all of us reached an age where we became accountable for our actions. I am sure that every child of God can look back on the days of his youth, remember with regret some of the mistakes that he made, and wish that he could go back and do those things over. Some may have worse memories of youth than others, but none of us escaped without transgressing God’s law, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). The only one who made it to, and through, adulthood without anything to regret was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, "who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth" (1 Peter 2:22).
Assuming that we have repented of our sins, obtained God’s forgiveness, and are trying to live in harmony with His will, we are not being hypocrites when we try to help our children avoid making certain mistakes by telling them about the mistakes that we made. After all, parents are to "train up a child in the way he should go…" (Proverbs 22:6). Fathers are told, "Do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). In such instances, it is not a case of "Do as I say, not as I do," but of, "Yes, I did this, but it was wrong, and I have suffered the consequences of it, so I hope that you will learn from my experience not to make the same stupid mistakes." Of course, our children will make many mistakes of their own. However, the idea of "training" is to provide the instruction, discipline, and encouragement they need to avoid making as many mistakes as possible.
Thankfully, for both us and our children, God has provided a means by which we can receive forgiveness so that He will not remember the sins of our youth, or any other period of our lives for that matter. No matter what we have done or how bad we have been, if we will repent and meet God’s terms, Jesus promised, "Assuredly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they may utter" (Mark 3:28). However, it is better not to make certain mistakes and have to bear the scars. That is why God gave us His word. "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin…" (1 John 2:1). Let us teach our children God’s word so that they can do better than we might have done.