Never forget. Well intentioned words. Convicting even. Especially today. And there are so many things out there we should ever forget. But truth be told, it seems many of them have long been forgotten.
9/11. Some 22 years ago today we were all glued to the television. Over and over we watched those planes smash into the World Trade Center. The horror of those images was burned on our brains. To this day, I see them.
There was no politics that day. There was no color. There wasn’t any socio or economic divide that separated us as people. We were on the same team. The same page. Emotion was our common denominator. Shock, rage sadness, and loss, brought unity like we hadn’t seen in decades. And through tears we braved the words, “never forget.”
And we don’t forget the day. It’s recording in the history books. Documentaries are everywhere. So we can’t forget the significance of this day. But 9/11 takes us back to a place we never want to be as a nation again. Vulnerable. Broken. Devastating loss. That’s a reality we don’t want to replay.
We may not have forgotten that awful day but we’ve definitely moved on. We’ve moved so far away from that unified front that it is unrecognizable. It’s even ugly.
We have new wars to battle, new issues to fight. And they’ve ignited new reasons to hate. We rest comfortably in that. We seem to like it. We don’t have time to never forget, that simply gets in the way of our agenda.
But I guess that is people in a nutshell. I think about the Israelites and all that God brought them through. Time and time again his grace and mercy swept over them bringing newness and hope. They even had stones of remembrance to help them to never forget. But they forgot.
We came through a civil war, the bloodiest of all combats ever. And yet, hate still prevails. It may look different but it’s there. I guess we forgot. Or maybe, we don’t want to learn. Seems we want to pick apart. Maybe we think it’s okay to keep the wounds raw rather than heal and move forward. And that is for all colors.
But it’s not just these major historical events that we forget. What about covenants and vows, promises and commitment? We stand at the alter proclaiming to love honor and cherish until death due us part. But oh how we choose to forget.
Even as believers we forget. Love one another. You know, really love one another. Even when you don’t like that person. Be kind….. do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth….. forgive…. And on it goes.
See, we pick and choose what we want to remember and make excuses for why we allow ourselves to forget. “They don’t agree with my politics, therefore I don’t have to love.” “I think they are privileged, they don’t deserve to be liked.” “I didn’t know marriage would be so hard. I want out.” “That was 22 years ago, our country isn’t the same.” We choose to forget.
I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to forget or grow stale to the blessings in my life. I want to remember and hold onto the goodness bestowed on me so my heart is never ungrateful. I don’t want to forget the rough stuff. The painful stuff. The stuff that made no sense. And while I don’t want it to dictate or control my life, I don’t want to forget it either. Life lessons flowed from that pain. God showed up in the middle of my grief in that season. How can I forget?
Sometimes we need to pause and just never forget. We need to hit rewind and go back to that place and relearn the lesson we were taught. We need to soak in the blessings of our lives and become grateful again. We need to slow down instead of barreling through life forgetting.
Never forget. Never go back. It’s not an oxymoron. If we forget, we will be back. If we forget. We are doomed.