The sins of my youth

There’s a pretty good chance you’re one of the over 1 billion people on Facebook.

Now, I mainly love Facebook. I really do. (Well, except for this past presidential race. Then I didn’t love it so much.) Anyway, as a military family, social media allowed me to stay in touch with family and friends across the country and world. From baby pictures to status updates, we could connect with each other, even though we lived thousands of miles away.

Little by little, I reconnected with high school and college friends whom I haven’t seen since graduation. Great memories came flooding back as we reconnected about years of laughter and good times and silliness. But then . . . in my head, I started thinking about those years. My dumb decisions. My self-centeredness. The way I hurt people without even thinking. Along with good memories, guilt and regret came flooding back.

I wrote one friend to apologize for my youthful idiocy, which is probably the kind and generous way to describe it. She wrote back and said, “I don’t remember all of that. But I do remember the dumb stuff I did.”

I bet you remember the choices you made too. In our heads we know our sins are forgiven, but in our hearts we all have our regrets, don’t we?

Which is why I think we all at some point say the same prayer that King David (who made some pretty bad choices too) said in Psalm 25:7, “Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, LORD, are good.”

Like my friend, God writes back—through his words in the Bible, not Facebook messages, and over and over he reminds us that when Jesus died on the cross, he paid the price for all of our sinful self-centeredness and our guilt too. Then, to sweeten the deal, he gives us the credit for Jesus’ holiness and obedience. Now we hear, “I forgive you. I choose not to remember that.”

What I did in my past and what you did in your past is done. Your guilt is gone. Now God can and will use you and your story for his glory. Just like forgiven David in Psalm 66:16, we get to say, “Let me tell you what he has done for me.”

Linda Buxa is a writer, Bible study leader, and retreat speaker. She didn’t keep a journal for her kids, so she’s happy that Facebook has chronicled their growing-up years.