Second Tuesday in Great Lent
Kathisma 4 (Psalms 24-31)
“The sins of my youth and mine ignorances remember not; according to Thy mercy remember Thou me, for the sake of Thy goodness, O Lord. Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He will set a law for them that sin in the way.” (Psalm 24)
Some people stop confessing their sins because they are afraid that they are just too far gone. They are afraid that what they have done can’t be undone and the consequences are just too hard to deal with. They give up.
In my experience working with college students, I’ve found this to be especially true with regard to virginity. Some genies just can’t be put back into the bottle. When someone sins by having sex before they are married, that holy virginity is lost forever. So, what now? What’s the point of picking up all the pieces if you can’t turn back the clock?
Statistically speaking, once a young person has his first premarital sexual encounter, he is much more likely to have more. Maybe people just give up on holiness. ‘In for a penny, in for a pound,’ seems to be the mindset. This is only one example, but face it, you really can’t un-sin any of the sins you commit. That’s why this Psalm has one of the most beautiful assurances about the Lord: ‘He sets a law for them that sin in the way.’
What does that mean? It means that once we confess our sin, we really can start over. No, we might not be able to go back to the way it was before, but because the Lord is gracious and merciful, He shows us the path forward from where we are, not where we ought to be.
Maybe you gave away your holy virginity? Confess the sin and receive forgiveness in Christ our Lord. More than that, receive the path He will set for you where you are now. So you aren’t a virgin anymore? What’s the path of holiness for single non-virgins? Do you really have to ask? You’re clean and forgiven, and the way forward now is chastity until marriage. Again, it is only one example.
The bottom line is: no, you can’t go back, but you can go forward. The Lord doesn’t wash His hands of us when we sin. He forgives us and puts us on the best possible way forward from where we are. You won’t leave Confession aimless, but with a new path of holiness to walk from here on. This is the Christian life of repentance: walk the path, mess it up, confess, be forgiven… walk the path, mess it up, confess, be forgiven… lather, rinse, repeat. Somewhere in this struggle, we grow in faith and love and holiness, if we only stay on the merry-go-round.