Oct. 27, 2006
Sins of the Youth
Jeremiah 31:18 I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God. 19 Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.
I came across this passage not long ago and was struck by a couple of different things in it. Namely, the the progression of it and how that brings us to bemoan the sins of our youth.
We are born wanting our own way. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way... Isaiah 53:6 Our parents start training us, hopefully from an early age, that we cannot have our own way in all things. We are unaccustomed to this yoke and chastisement. We have to be turned into an orderly and appropriate way. Eventually, many of us come to see how things we thought we wanted in our youth or thought we just "had to have" were not good for us or would have had very unpleasant results. Too often we learn by personal experience.
In a way, the same thing happens spiritually when we are saved. The Lord chastises us to bring us into ways that are right and pleasing to Him (Heb. 12). At first we are very happy to be saved, but as the Lord grows us we begin to experience things that we are unaccustomed to it at first. Christ Jesus' yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matt. 11:30), but we still sometimes resist it. We are turned into His paths and ways and are instructed by the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth (John 16:13) (which is through the word of God, by the way, John 17:17). Through this we repent and turn from our foolish habits and sins.
But, we come to a point where we are ashamed of the sins of our youth. For the Christian there are often things that we are greatly ashamed of, or even confounded by from the sins of our youth. Some things may never be erased from our minds in this life. Some things cannot be retrieved and we must take responsibility for them or deal with the scars for the rest of our lives.
David prayed, Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD. Psalm 25:6-7
David was a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22), and yet he had sins of his youth which reproached him. His desire was that God would not remember those sins and that He would instead remember him in His mercy for His goodness' sake. Sweet and precious thought for us, for none of us are better than David. Yet, we too can pray this of God, and we can do so through Jesus Christ!
1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Ephsians 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
2Corinthians 9:15 Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
(Also see the article: Forgiven.)