why I repeat myself

“I’ve written to you … partly to remind you of what you already know.” (Romans 15:15 CEB)

We live in a culture bent on hearing what is new or what we think has not been known before. In this way, we’re no different from some of the ancients (Acts 17:21). But I need to be reminded regularly of things I’m already aware of for any of a number of reasons. Here are seven.

  1. Because as I continually learn new things, there is a tendency in me to wrongly perceive “old” knowledge as something less valuable or even less credible.
  2. Because my life sometimes becomes so full or busy that my recall of important matters is impaired.
  3. Because my emotional life at times is such that some of the knowledge I have I can’t seem to access on my own.
  4. Because the sin in my life always threatens to desensitize me to what I know of God’s will.
  5. Because sometimes it’s not the hearing of something new I truly need most of all, but the stirring up of something that is already settled within my mind.
  6. Because having a refreshed sense of what I’ve already learned helps me to have a stronger sense of grounding or rootedness in life.
  7. Because even though I have a great rememberer, my forgetter works even better.

So the next time your preacher seems to be stuck on a certain track or is telling you what you’ve already known for a long time, don’t nod off thinking they’re just filling time or on their way to Alzheimer’s. Instead, smile and thank God. Who is to say that God in his providence is not involved, arranging for us all to hear what we need to hear most of all at this moment in our lives, whether we think we need it or not?

Father in heaven, in Christ’s name, thank you for those who, through the years, have repeated to me again and again what I think I know well enough already. I know without them I would be worse off. Thank you for not always expecting me to catch something only upon my first contact with it, but for exposing me over and over to things I need to encounter. Amen.