To Tell the Truth
The annual spring ritual of high school yearbook signings is alive and well. Teachers basically give up instruction for a few days after yearbooks are delivered since students have only one thing on their minds—giving and getting autographs. And what words fill those pages! The platitudes disguised as laud and honor are enough to make one wonder what every happened to original sin: “I’ll always remember your winning personality;” “Always stay the great person I’ve grown to love;” “You’ve been a bright light for me on my darkest days;” “I’ll never forget all the great times we shared.” Well, great literature these signings are not, but they give evidence of a deeply held desire: We want to remember, and be remembered for, the best—not the worst.
Unfortunately, the negatives in our lives do not vanish with positive pen strokes. It takes something more for us not to remember the bad things we have done. And if our sins are so easy for us to remember, how clear must they remain to God? David, the king of Israel, wondered this same thing. Sure, David was praised in the dances of Israel (1 Samuel 18:8; 21:11; 29:5), but his sins were ever before him as well (Psalm 51:3)—as are ours. Perhaps it is the sins of our youth that drive us to our high school yearbooks, or other affirming sources, to reclaim the positive veneers so graciously bestowed upon us by others.
But it takes more than reminders of our strengths to negate the reality of our sin. It takes the graciously bestowed love of a merciful God. David knew that, and prayed accordingly. “Remember your mercy and love,” he prayed, “and remember not my sin and rebellion.” David’s sins were long-standing and well-documented (“sins of my youth”), but God’s love was older and even better known that David’s sins. “When you remember my sin, remember first your love,” was David’s prayer.
God answered that prayer for David and will answer it as well for you. Mercy and grace does for sin what syrupy sentimentalism can never do: Acknowledge it, then forget it forever.
God’s Promise to You: “The truth about your sin is completed by the truth about my love.”