“Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!
Good and upright is the Lord;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
For your name’s sake, O Lord,
pardon my guilt, for it is great.
Who is the man who fears the Lord?
Him will he instruct in the way that he should choose.
His soul shall abide in well-being,
and his offspring shall inherit the land.
The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him,
and he makes known to them his covenant.
My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
for he will pluck my feet out of the net.” Psalm 25:6-15
Honestly dealing with our sin, and honestly praying, are vital in the Christian life. David had a rich communion with his God. He very specifically asked God not to remember his sins, but to remember His own character and steadfast love and mercy as He looked upon and dealt with His servant. He asked that God not remember his guilt, but him– his humility and contrition- for the sake of His goodness and great name. He knew God, His attributes, and His ways, and cherished their friendship.
We can slip into the doldrums of failure, or regret, or the harsh, sad fallout of sin, and think of nothing else. It is good to acknowledge these, and their specific sin-cause in genuine repentance, but they must not consume us. The psalms remind us then to remember the Lord instead. He rules, He forgives, He restores.
“The joy of our hearts has ceased;
our dancing has been turned to mourning.
The crown has fallen from our head;
woe to us, for we have sinned!
For this our heart has become sick,
for these things our eyes have grown dim…
But you, O Lord, reign forever;
your throne endures to all generations...
Restore us to yourself, O Lord, that we may be restored!
Renew our days as of old—” Lamentations 5:15-17,19,21
When we keep repeating our past, or painful present, they become our reality. We get trapped. They render us frozen to move forward, and likely quite unpleasant to be around. But God is big enough to cover all the hurts and wish-I-could-do-overs, and to block them from our persistent view. When we recount His goodness and mercies and beauties, the shroud is lifted, and not only do we spring forward and upward in joy, but we show others the way of freedom. Focus pivots from self to the One who is worthy of it all.
Will our eyes be ever toward the Lord, and this song be our song? What woes have become a sad refrain, and how can we change our words and tune to joyful melody?
Lord help me sing always that You are good and upright, loving and faithful. May my sin be gone and these glories be mine- in You, and for Your world.