Memories, the very word inspires both secular and sacred songs. At Church on Sunday Mornings God’s children sing Precious Memories, and who can forget Dean Martin crooning, Memories Are Made Of This?
Derived from the Latin word memorare, Webster defines memory as the power, act, or process of recalling to mind facts or experiences. In other words, to make an instant replay out of an event in your mind.
Remember is derived from the Latin words re, for again, plus the above defined word memorare. We could say define remember as continually running a mental instant replay over and over again.
Memories can work for us or against us. They can recreate moments of love, security and fulfillment, or they can recreate moments of pain, anguish and devastation, and here’s the key, we can choose our memories by choosing our thoughts!
God continually exhorted Israel to remember the Lord your God who delivered you from the bondage of Egypt. Through this directive God was saying, “When you relive in your mind the mighty miracles I worked to bring deliverance to your forefathers, you will take the past tense miraculous move of my Spirit into the present tense of your live.”
When Israel failed to remember (relive) these things they fell into sin and defeat. Listen to Psalm 78:40&41a “How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness and grieved Him in the desert! Yes, again and again they tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.” How did they tempt God?
They tempted God by putting limitations on Him! And how did they put limitations on God and His power? Psalm 78:41b gives the answer, “They did not remember (relive) His power: the day when He redeemed them from the enemy, . . .”
They limited God through their failure to remember (relive) God’s past tense miraculous move in their forefather’s lives. This in turn kept God from becoming a reality in the present tense of their lives.
Isaiah 43:18 tells us, “Do not remember the former things, . . .”
The human psyche has a phenomenal ability to make an instant replay out of the past tense failures and trauma of our lives. The Spirit of God through Isaiah is telling us, “Do not take the past tense trauma, failure, and devastation of your life (and nothing is more devastating and traumatic to the human personality than abuse) and play it over and over again in your mind.”
Why? Because in doing so we bring the pain, humiliation, and devastation of our past into the present tense of our lives. Obviously the principal of remembrance is a two-edged sword that can either work for us or against us!
Isaiah 43:18&19 tells us, “Do not remember (relive) the former things, behold I will do a new thing, . . .” What new thing? A new work of grace! A new work of healing! A new work of wholeness!
A word of warning to families that contain young survivors of sexual violence. The law of faith is, . . . you will get what you believe. Jesus said, “Be it unto you according to your faith.”
Yes, part of the healing process for survivors is having a safe place to talk it out, however there comes a time you have to quit talking about the problem and allow God to start working out the solution. If the parents are constantly lamenting that their child has been traumatized for life, especially if the child hears them, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. It keeps the past tense trauma in the present tense of the child’s life, and negates God’s healing grace! The child literally ends up being revictimized over and over again as you relive the event continually in your memories.
Let us look at Philippians 4:6-8, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be make known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things.”
Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our minds on things above, not on the earth. Why? Because good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruit, and God has made us the gardeners of our minds! Satan battles to control our lives through our thoughts. We literally win or lose with the thoughts we choose!