Bill Cosby did a classic comedy routine about it, and I'm not sure it's that funny, frankly. You get up and you go into the other room to get something, then you can't remember for the life of you what you went in there for until you go back and sit down. Oh, ever happen to you? That's the harmless kind of forgetfulness. But too many of us have had loved ones who, as the years went on, remembered less and less; sometimes even the people who loved them. When people's memory goes, they can become very easily disoriented; they can make some very bad decisions and even place themselves in great danger.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The High Cost of Forgetting."
For the most part, there's not much you can do about memory loss - the mental kind, that is. But there is something you can do about spiritual memory loss, because forgetting spiritually can be pretty damaging, too.
It was, in fact, one fundamental reason why God's ancient people kept wandering from God, messing up their lives, and suffering God's judgment. And it's one reason we make the same kinds of mistakes. In Psalm 106, beginning in verse 12, our word for today from the Word of God, God summarizes the unhappy history of His people then and now. "They believed His promises and sang His praise." That's the good news. "But they soon forgot what He had done and did not wait for His counsel." Now, the results were disobedience and resulting judgment. In the same psalm, God says that at other times, "They gave no thought to Your miracles; they did not remember Your many kindnesses, and they rebelled..." (Psalm 106:7) "...they forgot the God who saved them" (Psalm 106:21). Again, disastrous results.
We're all prone to quickly forget the great God we have and the amazing things that He's done for us. And like a person who loses their cognitive memory, we start to get disoriented - to wander where we never should wander - to leave God's ways and to leave God's will, and to experience the pain of God's correction and judgment or simply the painful consequences of our own wrong choices.
But unlike cognitive memory loss, there's a simple antidote for spiritual forgetting. It's called praise; regular, specific, conscious praise to God for who He is and what He's done. Praise is actually a discipline - a deliberate focusing of your thoughts on things you have to thank God for. We should wake up praising. As we're getting ready in the morning, we should train our mind and heart to be expressing thanks to God, enumerating things we appreciate about Him. Talk about getting your day off to a right kind of start! Whenever we pray, we should train ourselves to begin with praises to God before we rush to our requests. And through the day, we need to be looking for evidences of God (I call them God sightings.) all over the place and then sending up thanks to God for them.
When we stop praising God, we start forgetting God. And when we forget the kind of God we have, we start wandering, we start getting hurt, and we are much more likely to take matters into our own hands, to panic, to get impatient, to get discouraged or to get depressed. But the more you train yourself to be a "praiser," the less mistakes you're going to make - the less regrets you're going to have. You lose so much when you forget.