“Remember not the sins of my youth” -- These are words from a currently popular song, in turn taken from David’s words in Psa 25:7.
Now why should we or David either be worried about sins of long ago –long, long ago for some of us? We and he repented, we/he confessed, we/he prayed. We were forgiven—long ago.
But, I confess that the temptations that BESET me are those same sins that started in my youth. Perhaps in that time of hubris, Satan finds our weakest character trait and attacks and lodges arrows whose tips bedevil us with the pain of sin all our lives.
To illustrate: The popular kids in high school cussed and so did I. (Shame on me). I kept that world separate from home and Mom never knew—provable by the fact that the only scars on my hide are bullet holes and various self-inflicted accidental wounds. I got to college and waxed worse, still leading singing and making talks. Then I obtained a master’s degree in bad language in the USMC. I went to Florida College 3 years, preached full time for 10 and part time for years, and have been a deacon for decades. I cleaned it up. But when frustration builds up, I still fight the battle over, when multiple things go wrong in a short time and I am tired and, and, and….the words are at the tip of my tongue, in the edge of my mind. Shame on me.
I wish I could say that is the only sin that began in my youth, battles I still fight too often. I suspect David was warning young people—don’t start. It never stops. The appetites that you do not learn to control now will haunt you all your lives.
For that same reason, Paul warns a middle-aged Timothy, “Flee youthful lusts.” Old people are bothered by the same temptations that plague young ones. Problems may vary from vulgar language to pornography to covetous materialism to sexual fantasies to lying to envy, or a host of others, but the principle remains that it is easier to never begin than to stop, easier to stop when you are young than later. Now is the time.
So, with David and Paul, I would also warn: Learn now to control yourself. Every indulgence will weaken you and haunt you all your life. Not because it is unforgiven but because it never goes away. Like an addiction, sin/Satan never leaves you alone. You can control it, but you are never over it.
So you too consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness. For sin will have no mastery over you, because you are not under law but under grace. (Rom 6:11-14, NET)