Someone once closed a TV show by singing the phrase "thanks for the memory...". Are we thankful for all our memories - good and bad?
Our memories are the produce of sowing and reaping. Not only do we reap what we sow in present tense, but we also continue to reap from the same sowing in the past tense - our memory continues to stick our sowing to us like glue. If we sow wrong seed, we can be forgiven for eternity. However, we do reap what we sow - in this life, even if in memory. The sharp edge memories may, with time, be dulled. But the memory of what we sowed that constituted sin in Christ sight, will endure. Until our minds are gone, or we die. Be careful what you sow - the harvesting could last for a lifetime.
If the harvest is sin, it can be painful indeed. Even though forgiven, forgetting can be a different matter. God allows this for an eternal purpose. Bad memories can keep us humble, tender, and more yielding to our Savior. And it keeps us longing for the time when even the memory of it all will be gone forever. God is just, practical, merciful and - good. He loves us that much. And the memories of the bad harvest can magnify our love and thankfulness for Him.
Our memories are used by the Master Potter in His shaping of us as vessel for His family kingdom. Nothing happens to us -remembered or not - that He does transform for our good. We are, knowingly or unknowingly, transformed by our memories of days gone by. For most, it is a mixture of pleasantries and the unpleasant - sometimes to the point of bitterness and deep sorrow and regret. Sometimes we like to relive them - for the "good times".
Even without the ability to recall, the memory is embedded there in our minds. Its all recorded. Even though some things may be totally beyond our recall, they are still affecting who we are and what we are becoming. Our harvest from our sowing may be out sight, but they it is not "out of mind". It is ours, stored away, and part of what have become at this moment.
What you are doing and thinking this moment is writing a record of who you are at this moment. It becomes permanent. So, what you are really doing is writing your future - much of what you will be - into your mind now. We are, and tend to become, what we think every day (Proverbs 23:7a).
But there is a purpose for all things, not only in what God does, but also in what He allows into our lives, those who are His children in the Spirit. Some are haunted by memories of the past - past mistakes, past sins, past missed opportunities, failures in responsibilities, failures to love as they should, failures to perform as others expected them to perform. But there is truth in the cliché “there is method in the madness” of circumstances. God allows cause and effect, reaping of what we sow in the flesh now as part of the just retribution according to the law that was written into our conscience at our creation (Romans 2:14-16). There is a universal law of consequences because of this. No one escapes consequences. The world spends much of its energy and time attempting to escape consequences. In the attempt, more automatic consequences are created, creating more transgressions which creates more consequences. No one escapes the natural penalties of the law written within our conscience. Not even the unbelieving. Unless repented of, it becomes the basis for their judgment.
There are many things we should try to remember, and that build a profitable, pleasant, and useful memory base. Using our mind to record in our memory instructions from the World of God (John 15:20; Jude 1:17)); remembering others in appreciation and care (1 Corinthians 11:20); remembering others who are hurting motivates us to help (Colossians 4:18; Hebrews 13:3), are examples. Memory triggers thoughtfulness and carefulness in our living for Christ. Memory prompts us to correct our course, make changes, or cease, or begin to do what is right in God’s sight (Revelation 2:5; 3:3). It is difficult to change or make improvement without a reference point in our memory base. How can we know where we are going if we do not remember where we have been? It has been said that a bad memory is like bad and polluted air to breath; it is better than no air at all. However, like good air, good memories are much better than bad memories.
Many times God’s servants have pleaded with God to remember them - their service, their sacrifice, their relationship and obedience (Judges 16:28; 1 Samuel 1:11; Nehemiah 13:14,22,31). God never forgets a servant of His, the price paid for obedience. God knows, and He understands our agony of service and sacrifice in obedience to Him. That, He will never forget. He will be mindful of it forever. He will never cease to reward us for it. The only thing God ever forgets is our sins when we honestly repent and confess them to Him. He will never fail to comfort us now when we need it most. Unlike us, when He says He will forget our sins, and remove them forever, He has the power to never let them enter His mind again. God will cancel bad memory forever - even His own. And the time will come when our bad memories will be gone forever also. They will never come into our minds again...
Memories can be a blessing or seem like a curse, depending upon two things: what our memories consist of and, how we perceive our memories. Christ will use all of them to form Himself in us, to write into us a heart of genuine Godly character. What we sow we will reap. Some now. Some tomorrow. Some perhaps far into the future. For now, we must pray as the thief on the cross when in his agony he asked Christ, “remember me when you come into your kingdom!“ (Luke 23:42).
Then all the bad memories, from the bad harvest, from all the bad sowing, are erased forever, and the bad memory of of it all will be forgotten by God Himself, and only good memories will remain. The purpose of God for our bad memories are finished. Then with great joy and thankfulness we can say to God our Savior, - “thanks for the memory!”...
“For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are made holy. And the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us, for after saying, “This is the covenant that I will establish with them after those days, says the Lord. I will put my laws on their hearts and I will inscribe them on their minds,” then he says, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no longer.” - Hebrews 10:14-17 (NET)
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