What kind of memory do you have? You know – when you have to remember an appointment or to pick up some obscure item at the store. Do you have to write everything out in detail? Or is your mind like Velcro and things just stick to it? I have a good memory, but it’s short. At least that’s what I tell people when they say, “Remember to . . .” then they proceed with instructions that will never return to memory unless written ‘legibly’ on paper. The answer to your question is yes. Forgetting is a source of frustration and downright irritating most of the time. I recently read an article where the writer said that forgetting is a sign that the thing to be remembered is not important. You know what? That’s not true, at least not all the time. Sure, we have selective memory and conveniently forget “that thing we don’t want to do”, but I think there are multiple reasons our memories don’t hold onto things.
I’m thankful for memory – but I’m also thankful we can forget. I thought of this as I woke up this morning. It hasn’t been long since we had the gift of snow blowing around and piled high every place we looked. The sun came out, the wind blew from the south, grass peeked through and just a few days later, we were looking forward to spring and forgetting the days of winter. Now here we are. Today it really is spring. In fact, it’s been spring for about 8 hours. Paul’s message in Philippians 3 held more significance than the passing of seasons, but he has a lesson for us in things that matter. “Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I press on toward the prize.”
It’s important for us to remember things like the date and time of appointments, to put gas in the car, pay bills, buy groceries, and a million other little things that would be painful if we forgot about them. These are things we write down, keep track of, and stay consciously aware of.
We treasure relationships buoyed with memories from our past and when we invest time with family, friends, and people we care about, we inspire more memories that are woven into the tapestry of our life. We want to remember. We want to hang onto those occasions and repeat them in the future. Do you often revisit special times in your day dreams? I do.
What happens when events of the past have brought pain or caused emotional trauma? What if a small offense grew out of control and now it’s become a fence blocking out relationships that were once treasures. That mind like a steel trap holds grudges solid as though charged by a strong magnet. Nothing is more inhibiting, demoralizing, troubling, or unproductive than remembering wrongs, and keeping track of offenses. “Love isn’t selfish or quick tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do.” 1Corinthians13:5 But what if you’re long past the ‘love’ factor? The magnetic pull of the offense and unforgiveness repels anything remotely resembling acceptance, and surely the love is gone.
Did you know Peter asked Jesus in Matthew 18, “How many times should I forgive someone who does something wrong to me? Is seven times enough?” Jesus answered: Not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!” and in some translations, it says seventy times seven. How miserable we would be if we counted out offenses as they were committed. Yet, holding onto offenses and remembering them over and over makes us just as miserable.
Not just because it’s spring, not just because it’s a new day, but because it’s what God would want, is there a fence cluttered with grudges, irritations, fractured memories that need to be forgiven?
Today, is there something you should forget? Psalm 34:14 encourages us to turn away from evil and do what is right! Strive for peace and promote it! Maybe you’re waiting for ‘the offender’ to make the first move. Why would you want to miss out on your joy just because ‘they’ don’t want any for themselves? You can have joy – just ask for it. “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:24
What can you forget today that will create the tomorrow you want to remember?
“When you seek me in prayer and worship, you will find me available to you. If you seek me with all your heart and soul, I will make myself available to you,’ says the LORD.” Jeremiah 29:13