Remembering is important. What is your name? I see your face but cannot quite remember your name. Everyone can identify with this. We even make little notes to help us remember then we forget what we did with the notes. Sometimes I have even humorously told others that forgetting is my greatest spiritual gift.
On top of all of this we sometimes find it easiest to remember the things that hurt the most. We tend to remember when we feel slighted or put down or left out or feel we are not special. One warm Oklahoma autumn I decided to try running cross country. Running track was something I had never done. My conversation with a loved one is still crystal clear, even the place it occurred. “You will never make it” hurt this 16 year old more than I let on. I acted like it did not cut into my heart at all by defending my ability to succeed. Of course in my life and for each of us there are much deeper wounds that can haunt us that all of us wish we could forget.
Remembering certain things is important. Research has shown one of the sweetest things each of us likes to hear is our own names. Remembering Cole’s name, Emma’s name, Katriena’s name, Daniel’s name and each of the names of the kids who come to Blazing Hope really is important. Remembering the right things counts.
Jesus knew this, too. He told his most passionate friends that they would receive the same horrible (or as the kids say today “mean”) treatment that was being dished out to Him, which ended up with His death on the Cross. He wanted them to remember this when they too were slammed with persecution because they loved Him so they would not give up. Remembering became not just important but crucial.
Growing up our children would sometimes complain about this or that. Without be insensitive to their feelings we sometimes responded by telling them “life ain’t fair.” We wanted them to know this so that down the road they would not be crushed by the unfairness of our fallen world. If our expectations are out of touch with reality we can be severely crushed. And if we are not remembering the truth we can be hurt, too.
Remember, remember, remember, remember the truth not lies. On more than one occasion one of our young people have shared how down they were feeling about themselves. Sometimes those negative feelings are rooted in lies they have believed. Remembering lies like I have no worth or value or am not loved is personally destructive. Lies abound in the life of child or teen. You are ugly. You are fat. You are dumb. You talk too much. You are too shy. You are a looser. You can’t do anything right. It is your fault. No one likes you. Kids can be unbelievably cruel. These lies do not even have to be heard to wound. Sometimes they are just felt.
Because there is so much negative input and feedback that kids of today receive we love to affirm and encourage every child and teen that comes to Blazing Hope. Kids need to be believed in. We want them to know that for the rest of their lives and our lives there will always be someone in their corner they could call on not matter what. Blazing Hope is about relationships. Our goal is to impact their hearts for the long haul and for eternity as we build relationships with them. The deeper the relationship the greater the impact.
Remembering lies destroys. Remembering truth transforms.
I am awed with Jesus’ words when I remember the truth that in my relationship with Jesus He calls me His friend. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:13-15 ) Crucial remembering.
How important is it to practice remembering the truth? “I have said all these things to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues. Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told them to you.” (John 16:1-4)
What a difference it would have made if that loved one had said to me years ago, “Mike, I know track is something you have never done before but I know you can do it. There is no such thing as “can’t.” I am proud of you that your heart is willing to try new things and new challenges. It is going to be exciting to see how you progress. I believe in you.” What a wonderful thing that would have been to remember. Remembering the right things and the truth is not only wonderful but it really is transforming.
Michael Oris Howard