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Just dropping by ... Remember the suffering

Yevet Tenney for Progressive Dairy Published on 07 August 2020

I am increasingly troubled at the mob’s efforts to destroy monuments to American heroes and bury our classic and sacred literature. Why would anyone purposefully try to erase the past?

Don’t they want to remember where we came from? History is fascinating to me and gives me perspective about the future. In my genealogical studies, I have found answers to my own idiosyncrasies and traditions. It helps me recognize that my ancestors traversed difficult times, and I can too. But it goes deeper than that. The philosopher George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

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Let me illustrate. We have an infestation of rats and mice this year. We’ve had to resort to trapping and other extermination tactics. I hate that. We cannot allow them to multiply and spread bubonic plague, you know. One morning, I thought, “What a blessing it would be if mice could write eyewitness accounts of the mouse trap. They would be able to inform their children to stay out of people’s houses where there is cheese and bread for the taking.” Alas, rats and mice can’t read or write, and the ones who are trapped tell no tales.

The Lord puts a high premium on remembering the past. He commanded the children of Israel to remember that they were bondsmen in the land of Egypt. “But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: therefore I command thee to do this thing” (Deuteronomy 24:18 KJV). He wrote the Ten Commandments with His own finger because He wanted them to remember. His people built altars and monuments to help them remember the great event that occurred in that place (Genesis 35:7 KJV). Not only that, He instituted feast days and holidays, such as the Passover, so the children of Israel would not forget. Why would the Lord want this generation of people to remember that they had been in bondage? It was a clear warning about the evils of slavery.

The eyewitnesses of slavery died in the wilderness; their children only heard stories of Egypt. The only way they knew about the suffering was through the older generation. Our mortal memory is short; some of the older generation forgot how hard it was in Egypt. They didn’t remember making bricks without straw. They didn’t remember aching backs, chains and whips. They only remembered the food being brought to them and having a place to sleep at night. Often, they complained and wanted to return to the “fleshpots of Egypt.”

Some who followed God’s command treasured their freedom and taught their children to value it. These children were taught to look forward to a promised land full of liberty. Because they were taught, this freedom-loving generation witnessed miracles of the walls tumbling down and were able to cross the River Jordan on dry ground, just as their parents had seen the parting of the Red Sea. This new generation erected a monument to remember the goodness of God. “Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel forever” (Joshua 4:7 KJV).

God wanted the children of Israel to remember their suffering in Egypt, not only as a warning, but He wanted them to witness that He is still a God of miracles. He still has power to save us.

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People have short memories. In times of plenty, it is hard to remember what it was like in times of scarcity. After a mother gives birth, she forgets the pain of labor in the joy of her new baby. After an accident, the teenager forgets that speeding was the cause of his problems and goes back to speeding. The alcoholic forgets the hangover, and the released prisoner forgets what it was like behind bars and goes back to a life of crime.

Many in our nation are forgetting the principles on which our country was founded: the American Dream, hard work, ingenuity and freedom. They see only the free handouts and entitlements that come with vain Robin Hood-like promises. “Rob from the rich and give to the poor.” They picture socialism and communism as bright pots of gold at the end of a rainbow. Tragically, they will find those types of governments are leprechaun fantasies, just like the pot of gold at the end of an elusive rainbow. Margaret Thatcher said, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.” When the rich run out of money, the economy grinds to a screeching halt, and there is another kind of equality not mentioned in the Declaration of Independence – the equality where everyone is poor.

We need to examine our past and chart a better course for the future. The Pilgrims came to America to escape religious persecution and bondage. If we allow anyone to take our religious freedom away, we are back to square one. You may think that will never happen, but the past has shown that when communism is espoused, religious freedom is the first to go. If we allow the radical left to ban the Bible and our classic literature, Christianity is less than one generation away from extinction.

The Bible is not fiction but rather a historical account of those who followed God’s laws and prospered – and those who abandoned God’s laws and perished. The Bible contains moral absolutes in the form of commandments. These commandments dictate the path to civil behavior and principles of success. These behaviors, if ignored, will bring entire civilizations to ruin but, if followed faithfully, will bring those same civilizations to success and prosperity.

History shows that nations prosper when there are strong moral codes and values. Greece fell when it lost its moral compass. The Roman Empire, though it stretched over the entire known world, was brought to devastation by disregarding moral laws and allowing corruption in the government. Hitler cajoled Germany into believing one race of people was unfit to live. He caused the annihilation of millions in a war over abandoned values. He forgot that God said, “Thou shalt not kill.”

Many people in our society have never read the Bible and are not familiar with God’s moral compass. That is why they can so readily take a sledgehammer and smash someone else’s business and steal their goods. That is why they feel no twinge of conscience when they take the life of a child or beat up a defenseless senior woman. They have no understanding of history when they tear down or deface a monument of someone who has championed the underprivileged and upheld human dignity for every creed, race or color. They are just following the dictates of someone who will lead them to “free stuff.” In the end, they will find themselves victims of a failing regime.

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The Lord commanded the children of Israel to remember their suffering in Egypt. If we want to maintain our liberty and our way of life, we must do the same. We must set our sights on the moral compass, not the “fleshpots of Egypt.” We must remember the suffering of our ancestors and treasure our values and founding principles. We must study real history in the founding documents and abandon the history that some have carefully altered to shape America’s future.

It is time to live the principles in the Bible. We must teach our children to remember the suffering that brought us the freedoms we take for granted. We must write a history of honor for ourselves. Make this the day in history when we did not bow to tyranny and mayhem. We must make this election a day when we stood up at the polls and voted for freedom, not the “fleshpots of Egypt.” Remember, the government is our protector, not our provider. When the role is switched, we become slaves. It is time to stand with great Americans of the past against tyranny and suppression. Freedom is a choice, not a gift from the government. We must remember: Freedom was never free. A portion of the price to be paid is a vigilant memory.  end mark

Yevet Crandell Tenney is a Christian columnist who loves American values and traditions. She writes about faith, family and freedom.

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