Recently, I was on a plane with not much to do so I decided that I was going to pass my time remembering. I allowed my mind to travel back to a specific date and location. I sat there as I remembered the people who were around me, what I was feeling, and what my outlook on life was at that specific point. Some of my memories were sweet and left me feeling warm while others made me cringe from embarrassment. Either way, I enjoyed remembering.
It is a good thing to remember the past.
I have been to many different places in my life and they all have one thing in common. No matter if I am in a big city, small town, or even a middle-of-nowhere wilderness I can always find some sort of memorial. A small sign, plaque, statue, monument, stones, engraving-all these can be found. And they all have one of three messages… “Don’t forget this person.” Or “Don’t forget this thing that happened.” Or “Don’t forget this person that did this thing.”
So why is remembering so important? Because most of the time forgetting can have tragic results.
Now, I’m not simply talking about misplacing your keys (although that can be a bit of a bummer.) I am more so talking about forgetting the people, events, and truths that have shaped you into who you are today.
Deuteronomy 8:11-14 says,
“Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”
See, God completely understands our human tendencies. We are forgetful and prideful people. God tells the people of Israel to remember the person-God, the event-God bringing them out from slavery, and the truth-God did it and it was not by their own power.
And then in verse 19, God gives them the tragic results of not remembering, “if you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them…you will surely be destroyed.”
Remembering is serious business. It can literally be the difference between life and death.
There are so many tragedies in history that we need to remember.
The Original Fall of Mankind, The Holocaust, soldiers who bravely gave their lives protecting the oppressed, 9/11, The Sandy Hook Massacre, The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, multiple Genocides, and sadly I have only named a few. But all of these need to be remembered.
But also, triumphs should be remembered as well.
Jesus Rising from the dead, the crumbling of the Berlin Wall, walking on the Moon, cures for terrible diseases, The Emancipation Proclamation, Israel becoming a nation again, and the Bears winning the Super Bowl in 2020. (That last one hasn’t happened yet, but I am hoping that one day I will be able to remember it.)
In the same way that we should remember history-defining events, we should also remember our own life-changing events.
I remember when I was trapped and chained by sin. But, Praise God, I also remember when I put my trust in Jesus.
I remember those countless times where I had fears and doubts. But Praise God, I also remember those countless times where God firmly yet gently pulled me through.
I remember when I was unfaithful to the God who loves me. But, Praise God, I remember when He continued to be faithful in spite of myself.
Don’t forget the important stuff in life.
Write things down in a journal. Take pictures. Create something to put in your house.
But whatever you do, remember.