THE IMPORTANCE OF FORGETTING
OK, I’ll admit it. I find it a little more difficult to remember things than I used to.
Can you identify?
Years ago, I attended a seminar designed to help people remember names, lists, ideas and other every-day things. I can’t remember the name of the fellow who conducted the seminar, but he was impressive.
Just kidding! His name was Billy Burden. He was on a program with Zig Zigler and taught us how to use what he called "memory pegs" to help remember things. For instance, my name is Tom Miller, and to remember it you might see a person beating on a tom-tom while watching a miller grind grain. Kind of silly, but it works.
As important as remembering things is, it can be just as important to forget some things.
The apostle Paul wrote, ". . . forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those which are ahead" (Phil. 3:13). If anyone ever needed to forget some things, he did. Before his conversion, as Saul of Tarsus, he had been a fierce persecutor of the church. He had given his consent for people to be put to death for their faith. His hands were stained with blood. You can read about that in Acts 8 and 9.
As we journey through life, there are some things we need to forget. Here are some examples of what I mean.
First, let’s forget our past successes. We simply cannot rest on our laurels. How many really good sports teams have been defeated by a team with less talent all because they read and believed their press. They played the game with a "we’ve got this" attitude, but they didn’t have it at all. Each new day must be faced, each new game must be played, and each new battle must be fought.
Second, let’s forget our past failures. That’s a hard one, isn’t it? We tend to beat ourselves over the head with our mistakes and failures, and we allow the memory of those things to paralyze us. Of course, we should learn from our mistakes or we are doomed to repeat them. And, we must correct the situation, if we can, but then we must bury those memories deep in our forgettery. (That is a real word, you know.)
Third, let’s forget the slights, insults, and hurts of the past. Again, that’s a hard one. We tend to remember—even dwell on—every harsh word and every unkind deed. Though common, it is not healthy. It will depress us, encourage us to try to get even, and make us not very pleasant to be around. I recently heard someone explain this as drinking poison and then waiting for our enemy to die. That really doesn’t work, does it?
Yes, work on improving your memory, but also work on improving your forgetting. It makes the journey more enjoyable and successful.