Lord, Remember!

Reading: Psalm 25.1-10
In her advancing years my mother used to remark that she had a "good forgettery." Increasingly, her short-term memory deteriorated. She would repeat the question answered only a couple of minutes before. On the way to the dining room, she would introduce you yet again to folk you had met countless times before.

After a couple of strokes, she spent her last eighteen months in a nursing home. We would sing to her from the old hymn book she had known so well. Often her lips would mouth the words - barely audible.

At her funeral, the chaplain, a friend of many years, commented in the eulogy, "I took her communion every month, and when I would come to those words Ďand feed on him in thy heart with thanksgivingí, she would suddenly say Ďwith thanksgivingí along with me, or ahead of me." So much of her memory was gone, yet the basics were there and we believed that an important part of our visiting was to encourage and reinforce that basic recall.

How is your "forgettery"? Far better than it should be! At times we remember trivia and canít recall something important. We forget the kindnesses and remember the hurts others may have dealt out to us. On the other side, we hold onto the memory of all our sins and failures and forget Godís forgetfulness - "I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more" (Jer. 31.34c).

In Psalm 25, David twice calls on the Lord to "remember" - he also asks the Lord to "remember not."

"Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord" (vv. 6-7).

"Remember me..." Does God know you? Does he know your name, your relationships, your circumstances...? Yes, he does! Youíre not a number in a cosmic database - God knows you! David wants to be remembered according to Godís love. God is "good and upright," but David bases his prayer on the love, grace and forgiveness of the Lord.

A criminal was dying on a cross beside Jesus. He turned and said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise" (Lk. 23.42,43). He would be remembered, forgiven, welcomed.

"Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways" (v. 7a). In verse 11, David goes on "For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great." We talk about "forgive and forget" - as if the wrong done is petty and insignificant. Forgiveness of our sins cost Jesus his life. God forgives us on the basis of the costly death of the Son of God.

We have a choice to make. We can face the future on the basis of justice or grace. If we refuse Godís grace, we face the condemnation of justice. God is offering to "forgive and forget" all our sins and rebellious ways.

"Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old" (v. 6). This is the basis of Davidís trust and hope.

Davidís call on the Lord to "remember" - and to "remember not" - is enclosed in an earnest desire and prayer to know the Lordís ways, to be guided and taught (vv. 4-5,8-10). Beyond forgiveness, he now wants to live as he should have in the first place.

Sometimes children are forced to say "sorry" when really, given the opportunity, they would do the same all over again!

The Lord wants to be our heavenly Father - our teacher and our coach. He offers a relationship with us now - not merely a guarantee that all will be well in the end!

God has a good memory - and a good forgettery. He wants to remember us on the basis of his forgiveness and grace. He wants to forget our sins and rebellions. Thatís why Jesus came - and why he died on the cross. Weíre not forgotten. And, risen from the dead, Jesus can say to us just as clearly, "Today you will be with me!"

Prayer: Dear Father, our memory and forgettery get into so much trouble - we remember what we should forget and forget what we should remember. Lord, you know all about us. Remember your great mercy and love poured out so abundantly for our sins as Jesus died on the cross. Help us to remember too - and forget the guilt and shame you have already forgotten! Lord, remember us according to your love - welcomed into your family because of Jesus. Enable us to help others to remember you - and to receive your grace - and to forget past hurt and pain. For Jesusí sake, Amen.

Remember to Forget

The pain
of past
failure
and sin
can be hidden
repressed
yet harms
our present
poisoning
our body
and soul.

The pain
of past
hurts
and disappointments
unresolved
or unforgiven
continue
to bring
painful
memories
to haunt us.

Yet one has borne
our sin
and pain.

Why carry
what he has carried
for us?

Remember
his pain
for us -
remember
and forget!


© Peter J. Blackburn, Burdekin BlueCare Devotions, 4 March 2003.
Except where otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, © International Bible Society, 1984.

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