What in the world would we do if God decided that the path for our entire lives would be determined solely by the stupid, wrong, hurtful and immature things we did before we were 16 years old?
Think about all the things you did – and you didn’t get caught! Well, you think you didn’t!
The psalmist says, “Don’t remember the sins and transgressions of my youth — remember me…”
God knows us. And, God knows that we are all more than the worst thing we have ever done.
The Psalmist says, “Don’t just remember what I’ve done, remember me!!”
Take some time to see the young people in your life for who they are – young people, children….youths. Enough already about how foolish they can be. In fact, I have it on good authority that you (whoever you are now) were once foolish, too.
Here are some concepts you should make it your business to learn more about:
1. Restorative Justice
2. Peace Circles
3. Positive Behavior supports
There is a whole lot we can do to steer young people toward good. And the truth is – we all have to be intentionally “steered” toward good. We are all human, wrong, broken, sinful, stubborn and in need of mercy and grace. And yet, God sees beyond all of that and remembers who we are – God’s children.
We will never outgrow the need for God’s protection — and so it’s a good thing that God still reaches out the hand of mercy and forgiveness and provides us a place of “refuge.”
1 To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
2 O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame; do not let my enemies exult over me.
3 Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame; let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.
4 Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths.
5 Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all day long.
6 Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love, for they have been from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!
8 Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
9 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 decrees.
11 For your name’s sake, O LORD, pardon my guilt, for it is great.
12 Who are they that fear the LORD? He will teach them the way that they should choose.
13 They will abide in prosperity, and their children shall possess the land.
14 The friendship of the LORD is for those who fear him, and he makes his covenant known to them.
15 My eyes are ever toward the LORD, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.
16 Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart, and bring me out of my distress.
18 Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins.
19 Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me.
20 O guard my life, and deliver me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
22 Redeem Israel, O God, out of all its troubles.