Most all of us have selective memory. Some people look back to an earlier time of life and yearn for the "good old days." Others get fixated on missed opportunities or tragic events.
Selective memory skews our perspective. We either filter out unpleasant experiences or dwell on them. Either way, we're not seeing things accurately, and this impairs our judgment and impacts our emotions and thinking.
Sometimes we need to reflect on some of the not-so-good experiences in life, so we have a more sober view of life. On the other hand, we need to let go of some things and leave them behind us.
It is better to have respect than good perfume. The day of death is better than the day of birth. It is better to go to a funeral than to a party. We all must die, and everyone living should think about this. Sorrow is better than laughter, and sadness has a good influence on you. [vss 1-3]
A wise person thinks about death, but a fool thinks only about having a good time. It is better to be criticized by a wise person than to be praised by a fool. The laughter of fools is like the crackling of thorns in a cooking fire. Both are useless. Even wise people are fools if they let money change their thinking. [vss 4-7]
It is better to finish something than to start it. It is better to be patient than to be proud. Don’t become angry quickly, because getting angry is foolish. Don’t ask, “Why was life better in the ‘good old days’?” It is not wise to ask such questions. [vss 8-10]
(Ecclesiastes 7:1-10 GW) [Context– Ecclesiastes 7]
Key phrase— Don’t ask, “Why was life better in the ‘good old days’?”
[bctt tweet="Don’t ask, “Why was life better in the ‘good old days’?”"]
Review the Scriptures above as you answer the following questions
What are the things deemed "better" than their counterparts?
How could sorrow be better than laughter, or going to a funeral rather than a banquet?
Why would it be better to hear a wise reprimand than to hear someone praise us?
What things said in these verses indicate selective memory?
The death of someone we know should cause us to pause and take stock of our own life. Why? Death has a way of reminding us how fragile life is, and how temporary it is. When someone passes from this life, it's too late to tell them something you wish you'd told them earlier.
Things like pride, regret, unforgiveness, and bitterness are not worth holding onto. These things eat at and destroy us from the inside. Nostalgia tends to delude us. It's like summing up a person's life by their birth and death dates. Their life is the dash in-between the dates.
It's fine to remember the highlights of our life, but remember what takes place in-between the highlights. Those are when character is formed, and this makes the highlights more valuable.
Make it personal...
Read through the Scripture text again as you consider and answer these questions
Do you allow yourself time to reflect on what and who are important to your life?
Do you have people in your life who will be honest with you, and even rebuke when needed?
What do you have a hard time letting go of? Do these things dominate your thinking?
How can a person keep a good perspective in life, rather than fall into nostalgia or regret?