Not long ago, my Volvo stalled in the middle of a busy intersection (my Volvo with 253,000 miles). I sat there trying to start the engine while people honked and cussed. Right as my panic reached mile high proportions, two men in their 60's jumped out of their cars and pushed me to safety.
All day long, some of the more colorful expletives played in my head. I could vividly recall the angry drivers' facial expressions. Altogeth I could argue this unfortunate event wasn't my fault, I nevertheless felt ashamed.
As my day came to a close, it dawned on me that I had been dwelling on the negative reactions of others all day long. Not once had I stopped to think about the two men who helped push me off the road. The two men, who I might add, left their 1965 Mustang and 2004 BMW with the keys still in the ignition at the stop sign while they gave me a push.
Why is it that I tend to remember the negative over the positive? The worst over the best? Why is shame stronger than gratefulness?
When I was in college, I was reading through the book of Ezekiel and was overwhelmed with how often the phrase, "But they forgot me" was used. That seems to have been the most troubling aspect of these people...that they forgot God.
I'd like my memory to be a bit more selective. I want to remember the graces of God before recalling my personal injustices.
I love God's response in the book of Hosea when Israel forgets about him:
"'She decked herself with rings and jewelry and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,' declares the Lord. 'Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her. There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.'"
Just when I think Israel is going to get zapped for her forgetfulness, God responds with words designed to allure. There's a sermon in there somewhere...in fact, I think I'm gonna go write it.