Don’t forget to remember

Monday Musings for January 28, 2019

Good morning, Musers,

Memory is undervalued. When it works, we usually don’t notice. But when it fails, that failure often gives us a smack upside the head. Questions like “Where are my keys?” or “Why did I come into this room?” are pretty common… and perhaps more so to those of us who are… well… deeply experienced in life.

But let’s ignore the fact that forgetting announces itself (and that remembering doesn’t) because I’ll be talking about remembering in today’s devotional thought. So, why is memory particularly important to the Christian? That’s a good question… so let’s explore.

Now, I won’t be talking about this issue today, but the right kind of forgetting is also important.

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” (Isaiah 43:25, NIV, emphasis mine)

“as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12, NIV)

“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says: “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, sacrifice for sin is no longer necessary.” (Hebrews 10:14–18, NIV, emphasis mine)

And if the Lord treated us so graciously by “forgetting,” we should go and do likewise… but there’s a problem: we can’t. We can’t select a memory as if it were a computer file and then delete it. But, we can choose to act in love in spite of it. Instead of writing an offense down, we can write it off.

“[Love] does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.”
(1 Corinthians 13:5, NIV, emphasis mine)

That being said, there are things we can do to help us remember the right things — and staying connected to the Lord in prayer and Bible study is certainly one of them.

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21, NIV)

The problem with forgetting is that it presents as passive, so it feels forgivable. How many times have you heard, “Sorry… I forgot.” … and have dismissed the offense as non-consequential. But what if your employer said, “Sorry… I forgot your paycheck.” I’m guessing that would be different.

But do you know why the employer would never do that to you? Because, as a businessperson, there are things he must remember — so he does! … and what does this mean for those of us who are the hands and feet of Christ? There are things we must remember, too… so we should. It’s our job.

A friend who had a long career as a middle school educator shared how the kids were always “forgetting” their homework. He’d ask, “Where is your homework?” and the student would reply, “I forgot it.” But then he’d correct them. “No… you didn’t forget it. You didn’t bother to remember it.” This speaks more to our culpability than “I forgot.”

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