Wednesday of Lent I – Psalm 25:1-10

1 To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
    let me not be put to shame;
    let not my enemies exult over me.
Indeed, none who wait for you shall be put to shame;
    they shall be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord;
    teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God of my salvation;
    for you I wait all the day long.

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.
10 All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
    for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.

He was one of those pillars of a congregation, the sort of man who shows up for the parish workdays, served on the committees and the council, gave generously, and was there every Sunday. I pray you know some men like him. My ministry has long been blessed by these sorts of people.

But he was a complicated fellow. Before he died, he told me of his troubled and wild youth. He regretted a great deal that he had done, including fathering a child, and facilitating an abortion. He was wracked by grief and guilt over that. He said he came to the Lord’s Supper every week and thought about what he had done. But he also said he was glad of Christ’s unconditional love for him. That had come through sacrament and his wife, as it does for many of us. She knew what had happened, what his checkered past had meant. She loved him anyway. She had been taught that as a little girl and lived it as an adult. She taught him that God’s love was for people who needed it, people like him.

God does not remember the sins of our youth but teaches sinners and the humble His ways. Jesus told a wonderful story once about a young man who did something terrible to his father, but later, when the young man came home, the father welcomed him. You can read it in Luke 15. Many of us have something in our past which haunts us. You might be one of them. Know and believe that the prayer we pray in this Psalm is heard and answered. He teaches you His paths, instructs You in His ways, and leads you in the paths of steadfast love and faithfulness. In Christ, He has forgotten the sins of your youth and helps you to put them behind you too.

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