A few weeks ago I reviewed a book entitled: The Rest of God, Restoring your Soul by Restoring Sabbath. The book had so many challenging thoughts, including some about forgetting and remembering.
In John 14:26 we learn that the Holy Spirit has a ministry of reminding. Israel in the Old Testament was frequently told to remember all that God had done for them. Yet…
The Scriptures also tell us to forget. Philippians 3:13-14 states “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…”
Which is it? It is both. And our chronic problem is that we forget what we should remember, and remember what we should forget.
We remember hurtful words and betrayals. We nurse old grudges and re-open old wounds. I’ve joked that I unfortunately have a filing cabinet in my mind where I can pull out files of every hurtful thing said or done to me. The filing cabinet of nice things said and done to me is sparse – not because there is a lack of kindness but my memory is sadly selective. I one time read of having a happiness box – a place to keep small mementos of past kindnesses in life. I should have started one, as it would be great to pull out when I get focused on bad memories. There is also the idea of keeping a gratitude journal, where you record things you are thankful for, which can serve as a great remembrance of the good in life.
Of course, there could be danger in completely forgetting certain things, and we have the right to have boundaries of protection in our life. But we don’t want the past to control us. On page 199, the book says “If all we do is remember, the past will not guide us; it will ensnare us…” We can end up bitter, angry, cynical. There may be a time for anger, but we don’t want to remain in it.
As Philippians also says, we are to strain or look forward to what lies ahead. As Christians we have a tremendous future hope – and we can be prone to forget it. The book of Hebrews, in particular, has a special emphasis on the future aspect of our faith.
I’m trying to write some briefer and less involved posts, so I’ll close by encouraging you to pray, along with me: That God will help us forget what we should forget, and remember what we should remember…Enabling us to better live in the present, with an expectancy about our future hope in Christ.
Laura Droege said:
Just today, I read of an actress and her husband who have a “thankfulness jar” (or something of the sort) in their kitchen. When they’re having a bad day, they can write down one thing in their life to be thankful for, or pull one out and read it and be encouraged. It’s a good idea. We could write down those good things in our lives– compliments, happy memories, nice gestures someone has done for us, etc.–or even put in a small item that reminded us of that good thing. Maybe we’d learn to remember the things we ought to remember!
Hi Laura, another great idea. Thanks for sharing it. I like the idea of adding -or- removing from it! I could also see putting in some slips with Scripture verses on them, to remind ourselves of the riches we possess in Christ.