Do you remember eight track tapes?
I won’t even try to remember what year it was, but I do remember the day that the furniture store delivered our new console entertainment system! It had an FM receiver, a turn table and (wait for it) an eight track tape player!
Even more exciting than the technological wonder before me, the store had left a demo tape in the player, Jimmi Hendrix and the Band of Gypsies – SCORE! A bonus Janice Joplin tape was discovered in the storage area.
Have patience, I’m a pastor and you know the spiritual application is coming!
A couple weeks ago when my pastor was speaking about how memories were recorded like cassette tapes in our minds. I chuckled and thought, “For some of us its more like eight track tapes.”
That kicked off a flood of thoughts about how old and hurtful memories are like a box full of eight track tapes kept in the attic. We don’t really know why, but every once in a while we climb up, pull one out and play it.
Most of the time what we keep in the box is worthless and there is no real benefit to getting that stuff out. Here’s why.
Like a box full of eight track tapes:
I. Hurtful Memories Are Outdated
The only thing that can be listened to on eight track tapes are oldies. What is on the tape has been played over and over again until it has worn out. Nothing new has been recorded on eight tracks in many years.
Most of the memories that hurt us are oldies. We have rehearsed them over and over, sometimes for years. The problem is, unlike a tape that eventually wears out, these memories will play over and over until they wear us out.
The burden, the pain, and the guilt can weigh on us emotionally, physically and spiritually.
II. Hurtful Memories Are Expensive
An eight track tape can only be played at great expense. There is only one way to play them and that is on technology that is 40 years old.
If you can find an eight track player in good working condition it is probably worth more that its original cost.
When we pull a hurtful memory from our box in the attic, we do so at great expense. If we allow our thoughts to drift to a hurt from years ago, it can cost us our present and corrupt our future.
It’s amazing the high price we are willing to pay to hold onto our memories.
We make the decision how high a price we are willing to pay.
III. Hurtful Memories Are Poor Quality
At this point in time, any eight track tape is over 40 years old. Over time, the magnetic tape that holds the recording begins to break down and stretch.
As a result the recording (not that great to begin with) becomes distorted. Eventually the tape will become inaudible or break. If you were there, you remember splicing tapes!
The more we replay harmful memories the more they deteriorate in quality. As the facts become more and more distorted we tend to splice in our own interpretation of what happened.
We add to and embellish the story. We demonize the people involved. Eventually the story has little resemblance to the original event.
Because we are sinners born into a broken sinful world, we have all been provided with a box full of old hurtful memories. Most of us struggle not to replay them over and over every day.
How can we break the cycle?
Discipline Your Thoughts – you are the only one that can load the tape.
A counselor once said, “We must learn to speak to ourselves rather than listening to ourselves.” When the distorted, outdated, hurtful thoughts begin to play, speak truth to yourself about how God sees you and loves you.
Focus On Better Things – this verse is a great example for us, Philippians 4:8
Work Hard To Forgive – Most of the hurtful memories we have are effective against us because we refuse to forgive someone who has hurt us. The tape will always be in the box, but when we truly forgive, we have nothing to play the tape on.
Which of the three steps above can you take today, to stop replaying hurtful memories.
If this has been a help to you please share it with your network or leave a comment below.