Several years ago something called “Repressed Memories Therapy” became very popular. This was an area pf psychotherapy that garnered tremendous attention as adults began to come forward in droves making accusations of sexual assault that happened to them as children. This therapy supposedly brought up memories long buried. It caused the ruination of dozens of lives and caused untold misery because much of this therapy was debunked and considered to be unreliable.
However, we all have past memories and some of them are painful and troublesome. Should we put an emphasis on recalling our old memories? I would say that your answer depends on whether you are going to take a biblical approach to life or not.
Every one of us has to answer this question- exactly what place is the Bible going to have in the way I live? This is a foundational question for a Christian and one that can be answered by if you answer “Yes” or “No” to these:
- Do you use the Bible to solve your problems?
- Is the Bible your guide to handle life’s problems?
- Do you use the Bible to set your life’s goals?
- Does life’s direction come from the Bible?
- Do you rely on the Bible to show you what is important in life?
If you believe that the Bible contains all you need pertaining to life and godliness, then you will want to major on what the Bible tells you to major on.
To tie this into our study on memories, let’s consider how much emphasis we should place on recalling our old memories. Based on what I wrote above, what question do we need to ask ourselves? Especially in light of key passages such as Ephesians 5 on progressive sanctification? Do we see memory recall promoted in the Bible? No we don’t.
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (NASB)
This does not mean we pretend we have no recall of our childhood or of good times and even painful times in our lives. It does mean that we don’t live in the past or meditate and dwell on them. Our memories serve a purpose in our lives, they can help us to handle trial, help us forgive, and help us apply the truth of God’s Word. Our memories can humble us and even lead us to repentance.
Beyond that they must stay in their place- the past.
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