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Lessons From Animals--"Memory"

"Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; Neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; For you will forget the shame of your youth, And will not remember…"
Isaiah 54:4


The other day I was watching a video. Kasey was in the bedroom, not where I was. At one point in the video, someone rang a doorbell; I had the volume up, so it was easily heard throughout the house. Immediately, Kasey came running out of the bedroom, barking. She ran up to the front door, clearly excited. I opened the front door, and she jumped out, looking left and right for whomever it was that had rung the bell. Of course, there was no one there, so she came inside and went back to the bedroom. Amused, I rewound the video, playing the doorbell again. Once again, Kasey came charging out of the bedroom, barking. This time she was becoming a little agitated--"Someone's at the door! I heard the doorbell! WHERE DID THEY GO??"

The funny thing is that my house doesn't even have a doorbell. Apparently, though, Kasey's last home did--and she remembered the sound! Even though it had been months since she had last heard it, she remembered it.

I've often paid attention to what my dogs remember. Given enough time and patient work, they remember certain words ("Sit!" "Kennel!"). Not only that, but my dogs have learned to pick up on certain visual cues that I didn't even mean to teach them: when they see me putting on a jacket, or shoes, they instantly know what it means ("Yippee! We're going outside!") When we go to the coast, even if it's been months since our last visit, I can tell they remember: the closer we get, the more restless they become. They know where we're going! They want to get out and hit the water!

Dad, I don't even remember...just rub my tummyUnfortunately, their memory also works against them, particularly when they're being naughty. For example, when they do something wrong (such as, say, eat my dinner when I'm in the other room), and I come in and catch them; I don't need to say anything. Indeed, sometimes I don't even have a chance to react--they'll just hear me coming, and try to flee the scene of the crime. Why? Because they know--because they remember--that they're doing something wrong. I remember, too; I learned quite quickly not to leave my dinner within their reach (they trained me well).

But what's most interesting is their lack of memory. In moments of anger, I've sometimes lost my temper and shouted at them: "No! Bad dog!" I feel terrible afterwards. As humans, we are often devastated by such words; and even though I might plead for forgiveness, the recipient of my words can't help but remember. Kasey and Annie, though, are different; they forget--and forgive. They love me; they don't even remember my error. In this respect, I sometimes envy them.

But then I remember--we are blessed, too! We are blessed by one of the greatest aspects of God's forgiveness: God forgets. God tells us that a day is coming when He will not only forgive our sins, but not even remember them. In Jeremiah 31:34, God says, "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more." In Isaiah 43:25, God says, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more."

What an incredible gift. What an incredible blessing--not only has God forgiven our sins, but He doesn't even remember.


In Christ,


--Pastor Dan


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