Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord.
This past week I vacationed with my wife's family in California. One day as my daughter played in the sand, I watched a surfer struggle against the tide as she to get into deeper waters where she could catch waves. I had never considered how difficult it must be before, but she appeared to struggle to manage the bulky board as she jumped over the waves crashing into her. Working through the shallows didn't look like much fun, but of course it was necessary work to get out to depths where one could catch a wave before it folds over on itself.
Regret is like this shallow water that meets the shore. It crashes into us in waves, reminding us of all our failures. It fills us with shame as we try to manage all the baggage of our poor choices. Most of us would rather avoid it altogether, but we can't. Regret is the only approach to God's grace. We must wade through the shallow waters of regret in order to plunge ourselves into the deeper waters of God's grace.
You simply cannot appreciate God's grace until you have considered your own sin. Remembering your sin enables you to realize how good God has been to you. When you make light of your sin or ignore it altogether, then you make light of God's grace. How can we declare the glories of God's amazing grace to us, if we do not occasionally consider how undeserving of it we were and are? Don't forget your sins! Remember them. Even though they are already forgiven, periodically call to mind your current and past sins. This will help prevent you from making the same mistakes over and over in life, and it will help stave off a presumptuous attitude before God.
Truthfully, I hardly ever think about my sin. Sadder still, when I do kneel in prayer to confess my sin, I can hardly think of anything to confess. This isn't because I am so saintly as to no longer need confession, but rather it's because I am so oblivious to my own sin that I live practically as if I had none. Theologically I know I am a sinner, but I have turned a blind eye to that truth in my every day experience. Jeremiah 6:15 scares me in this regard:
"Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the Lord.
Father, please do not allow me to become so hardened to my sin that I no longer know how to regret it. I know that I can't repent of my sin without being sorry for it, so teach me to be ashamed of my sin, so that I might repent and experience more of Your grace. Most of all, Father, help me to understand and be awed by Your grace.