The Importance of Remembering the Past

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, May 22, 2017 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

This time of year is often a time of transition, with graduations and weddings going on. When we transition in life, we often remember the past and look ahead to the future. When I graduated college with my undergrad degree (almost 14 years ago now!), I had very fond memories of those 4 years - how much I had grown and matured during that time, the friends I had made, etc. I wanted to remember the past, but I was also looking forward to the future. For me at that time, the future meant getting married in less than a week, moving to a new home in a new city, and starting grad school the next fall.

Remembering the past is important, for a couple of reasons. First, if you remember the past, you’re less likely to repeat the mistakes you already made. My day job is as an electrical engineer, and there are mistakes I have made at my job that have cost extra money or caused people to do more work. As a part of a consulting company that works for others, if I forget those mistakes and repeat them again, our clients will be a lot less willing to hire us again. I need to remember what I have messed up in the past so that I learn from it and don’t mess up again in the future.

This is so true with the people of Israel in the book of Judges that I’ve been writing about for most of the last year. Israel followed God, then something happened and they turned away from Him, God punished them, they cried out to God, He forgave the, and then they started following God again - until they forgot what happened and strayed away from God again. The majority of the book of Judges follows this pattern in Israel’s life. They kept forgetting the past and making the same mistakes all over again.

Second, remembering the past is important for us to remember what God has done for us. Psalm 143:5 says, “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.” If I’m facing a difficult situation, I can look to what God has already done in my life to give me the confidence that He will come through for me again. If God has continually proven to me that He is faithful and trustworthy (which He is), then I can have confidence that He will continue to be so. Past events in my life that have shown me God’s provision will help me to trust that He will provide for me again, even if it looks a little different this time.

Third, remembering the past honors the achievements of those who have gone before us, as long as we don’t worship them. We can learn dedication to a cause from those who have fought for our country so we could be free today, especially on this upcoming Memorial Day weekend. We can honor those who have gone before us by learning from their mistakes as well, so we don’t walk down the same wrong paths they did.

We remember Jesus and His sacrifice for us every time we participate in Holy Communion. In 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 Paul writes, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” We remember and honor Christ and how He suffered and died and was raised for us through this important remembrance of the past. This gives us the gift of salvation and eternal life, which can also remember and honor by sharing it with others.

Learn the past and remember it, so you don’t make the same mistakes again, remember what God has done for you, and honor those who have gone before us. While the future may be exciting to think about and plan for, the past will help that future be a better one.

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