I was speaking at a banquet for one of our churches — it was actually an associational meeting — and I was sitting across the table from one of our fine pastors. A number of us were just having dinner conversation and one of our friends, a fellow pastor, was having a difficult time with his health and dealing with the disease. One remark led to another about our own health issues and how we were dealing with life, at which time the pastor across the table from me said, “Well, I’ve got CRS.” I just looked at him kind of strange because I’m constantly hearing of some new, exotic illness that I’ve never heard of that attacks somebody and I just assumed that’s what he had come in contact with. I said, “What?” And he said, “I have CRS.” “What is that?” He said, “Can’t Remember Stuff.” I, along with everyone else, laughed and then the conversation moved into the problems that everyone has from time to time whether you’re in the first grade or the first semester of your second childhood.
Can’t Remember Stuff is a great descriptor of what all of us struggle with because we live in a world where every day is a new avalanche of information poured out on top of us. It does not matter if you’re watching 24 hour a day cable news or reading information on the World Wide Web or getting information on your iPad or iPhone or whatever cellular device you carry around. There are all kinds of new, explosive information coming at you constantly.
It may be a short article you read about a celebrity having a plane crash or the IRS setting new rules with which they’re going after people or a new discovery of an illness in some faraway place on the other side of the world. It could be scores from ball games or some article related to one of the fifty or sixty people thinking about running for president. It could be something your mate told you or asked you to do or one of the thousands of bits of information that comes to you while you are trying to carry out your work. At the end of the day you may feel like you have developed CRS – Can’t Remember Stuff.
Now the fact is that none of us can just instantaneously store and keep and comprehend all the information that we’re processing. It comes too quickly, stays too short a time, only to have more stuff coming at us right around the corner to remember every little piece of information. Add to that that lots of folks don’t have a good memory to begin with. In fact a great old friend of mine years ago said, “I’ll just be honest with you, my memory is what I use to forget with.” Somehow it made sense.
I’m fairly sure that every one of us possesses a different degree of memory capacity than the people right around us, but also am confident that sometimes our remembering and not remembering is because of our lack of focus and paying attention to what we’re supposed to remember. Now there are just some things that I am not going to waste my time with trying to remember. There’s really no need and I don’t think I’ll ever need the information, so I am not going to spend time trying to remember it. I do not try to remember telephone numbers. Now of course today you can store umpteen numbers in your cell phone and just pull up a name and call the number that’s there. But even before we had all those numbers stored in a directory, I didn’t try to remember my own phone number. In fact, in all the years and different phone numbers I’ve had, there’s only one I remember to this day. At one point we had a phone number that was 444-4440. If you don’t pay attention, you’re not likely to retain it.
But a second factor about remembering stuff that is of importance is that most of us remember what we ought to forget and forget what we ought to remember. Crazy, isn’t it? There are some things that when we listen to what God tells us and forgive someone, we need to let it go to such a degree that we don’t even retain the memory of it. But, no, those things seem to stay with us and are indelibly printed on our hearts but we need to forget them and let them go. At the same time we forget things, we ought to remember things. There are things about the Lord including the wonderful declaration in Ecclesiastes, “Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth” (12:1). But while we ought to remember, we tend to forget. While the Hatfields and the McCoys carried on a feud, fussing and fighting with each other for decades, most of the people forgot what they were fighting over and could only remember to fight and fuss. But they’re not the only ones. For I have known people to carry grudges and have bitterness in their spirit about people and over things that they should have forgotten years and years and decades ago. If and when we remember what we should forget and forget what we should remember, it is to our own detriment that we do that. For in either direction and in both cases, a poison is loosed in our soul that will affect us as long as we maintain that posture.
But a final thought about CRS disease … and that is to remind you that God in His wonderful power and plan forgets stuff. The Scripture says that God forgives us of our sins and then dramatically pictures that He casts them into the depths of the sea (Mic. 7:19), removes them as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12), never to remember them against us again (Isa. 43:25). God Himself imposes CRS on Himself and wants us to know that when He forgives us, He can’t remember stuff and will hold it against us no more. What a word from heaven. There is stuff that consciously, deliberately and with the help and grace of God, you need to forget today. That hurtful word that someone said to you that you have not forgotten in decades. That painful experience you went through in a broken relationship years ago and have kept it close to your heart and on the front edge of your mind all this time. That disappointment and huge loss you experienced at your job, in your profession, or with a dear friend. You need to forget and move on.
It is a wonderful thing when God helps someone to forget what they need to forget and though it has nothing to do with intellect, it is a wonderful spiritual experience when you come to the place where you have CRS – Can’t Remember Stuff.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.