For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me.
— Psalm 51:3
When David says, “I know,” it’s almost like David is saying his sin is continuously on his mind. It is always right in front of him, a never-ending reminder of the sin he has committed. He gets up, and it is there. He goes to sleep, and it is there. Sin becomes a permanent prison in our minds, continually reminding us where we have screwed up.
Most people I meet can identify with this issue. Whenever you talk to someone about Jesus, they always want to go back to something they did wrong. I almost get the sense they never actually left that place of failure. Satan takes advantage of any chance he gets to remind them of their failure. This has to get tiring. Can you imagine living your entire life in guilt? Some of you, unfortunately, don’t have to imagine because that is your reality. I heard a fascinating story years ago that gives an accurate picture of what God thinks about our past sins:
A pastor in a small town was told of a prophet who claimed he spoke for God. The pastor was very skeptical and wanted to expose this man as the fraud he was. The pastor made a trip to see the prophet and explained that, as a young boy, he committed a terrible sin that only he and God knew. The pastor challenged the prophet to tell him what sin he had committed. The prophet requested three days to reach out to God for an answer. The pastor was confident the prophet would not be able to tell him the sin he had committed. Three days later, the pastor returned to the prophet, and the prophet confirmed that he had spoken to God and asked about this grievous sin committed. The answer the prophet received from God shocked the pastor. The prophet said, “I spoke with God about your sin, and for the life of him, he doesn’t remember what you did. He has forgotten it.”
Did you hear that message? God doesn’t remember your past sins. I don’t know why we picture God holding onto our sin, continually thinking about it. So here is my advice: don’t hold onto something that God isn’t! Your past is forgiven, so forget about it!