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Monday, August 25, 2014

Remember not, O God,
 the sins of long ago;
in tender mercy visit us,
distressed and humbled low.

O Lord, our Savior,
help, and glorify your name,
deliver us from all our sins
and take away our shame.

Then, safe within your fold,
we will exalt your name;
our thankful hearts with songs of joy
your goodness will proclaim.

“Remember Not, O God,”
from The New Metrical Version of the Psalms
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

Does guilt have an expiration date? Is there a statute of limitations on bearing the stigmas of youthful indiscretions? How long after making a mess of things do we get to turn the page?

This version of Psalm 79 implores God to forget our sins from long ago. The “long ago” aspect of this seems to me to be very important. Many of us can identify with this situation of being “distressed and humbled low” by something we’ve done in the past. Many of us carry around burdens from years gone by. Many of us have long lived with shame.

It is often said that it is easier to forgive than to forget. Yet here the psalmist hopes that God will do just that: remember not the sins of our past. Perhaps this is only possible for the divine.

Yet we are reflections of God, and through Christ and the Spirit we participate in the divine love of God. Perhaps we too can find it within ourselves to remember not the ways in which we have been wronged by others. Even more, with God’s help, I believe we can put our own failings behind us and move forward with thankful and joyous hearts.

Remember not my sins, O God, and help me to change my heart and life through the power of your love and grace. Amen.

Written by John W. Vest, Associate Pastor for Youth Ministry

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