My dad loved telling old stories. And re-telling them, again and again. He spent a lot of time reminiscing – thinking and talking about things in the past. It didn’t matter how many times he’d told the stories or how many times we’d heard them, he experienced great enjoyment with every recounting of the events of his life. He even wrote his autobiography once when he was recuperating from surgery. This made for very interesting reading, first of all because he couldn’t spell. Really. Once we were able to decipher his best guess at the phonetic possibilities of words, the stories were most entertaining. He had vivid memories permanently embedded in his mind because he repeatedly thought or talked about the events.
In 1990 the movie Total Recall was produced, with a remake in 2012. It’s a sci-fi film where a company named Rekall provides memory implants, turning dreams into memories. For the main character the procedure goes horribly wrong, making the lines between fantasy and reality blurred, causing him to be a hunted man. I watched the original movie years ago, and have seen a portion of the remake. Science fiction is a bit hard for me to follow, but I do remember it was about messed up memories.
What are the strongest memories embedded in your mind? Are they the kind of thoughts that bring a smile or a LOL? Or are they dark and haunting memories of hurt and difficulty?
David wrote a Psalm about the city of God, Jerusalem, when the city was strong and fortified. He writes of how other kings were amazed, stricken with terror and took to flight when they came near. He lifts the name of God, praising Him that His presence is a Refuge, a Stronghold. It is an exhortation to the people of the city to join him in praising God for their strength, to look well at what God has done for them in order that they can tell the next generation.
Psalm 48:13 in the Amplified Bible says “Consider well her ramparts, go through her palaces and citadels, that you may tell the next generation – and cease recalling disappointments.”
The people of God had been through a lot. They had experienced wars and exile, peace and deliverance throughout their history. David knew that the people of the city would miss the blessing of the time they were in if they kept talking about all the disappointments they’d experienced.
We’ve all experienced disappointments in our lives, but have we recalled them so often, thought and talked about them to the point they are permanently embedded in our minds? Has the enemy “implanted memories” in your mind, like in the sci-fi movie, that have caused reality to become a bit blurred? He’s good at that. He loves to bring back the memories of the bad things that have happened to us, and often twists them into something more than they were. If he can get us talking about them again, he has opportunity to embed them even deeper in our souls. We become his target, living like a hunted man always running from the joy thief, the dream destroyer. This is not God’s plan for us!!
1 Corinthians 2:16 says “…we have the mind of Christ and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart.”
We have been made new in Christ – that means our minds, too! He made a way for us to renew our minds through His word (Romans 12:2). He gives us the power to decide what we think about (Philippians 4:8). He is able to answer this prayer for us, just as He did for David: “Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3 Solomon knew the dangers of a loose tongue: “He who guards his mouth keeps his life, but he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3
My dad grew up hard. He experienced some deep hurts and walked through many difficulties in his life, some of which began in his childhood. But these were not the things he chose to think and talk about. He told us of adventures and family and fun. He chose to recall the good, and it made all our lives better.