Some truths in the Bible are just plain scary! They need to be soberly considered.
Take Jesus’ telling of the rich man and Lazarus story in Luke 16:19-31. Christ pulls back the veil beyond the grave and allows us to see beyond it. Lazarus, a poor beggar who suffered greatly in this life, is contrasted with an unnamed rich man who faired sumptuously. Jesus describes their reversal of fortunes in the afterlife. Lazarus is comforted, while the rich man is in torment and anguish. He desires just a drop of water to cool his thirst.
But maybe the most striking and scary part of the rich man’s suffering is his memory. Father Abraham, who is existing with Lazarus and is called upon by the rich man, says to him, “Child remember . . .” (Luke 16:25). The rich man and Lazarus both had memory of their life on earth. Abraham calls upon them to remember their experiences, one of luxury and the other of suffering.
But it doesn’t end with remembrance of life experiences, but the rich man naturally goes to what is most precious to his heart–his family. When he learns that he cannot leave his place of torment, he says this to Abraham, “I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house–for I have five brothers–so that they may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment” (Luke 16:28).
He remembered his family. He remembered his life. A part of the punishment of hell is our memory. The memories of wasted opportunities. The memory of rejecting the saving gospel. The memory of choosing the passing pleasures of sin, over denying ourselves and taking up our cross. The memory of influencing others including those most precious to us away from God.
On earth often our memories can haunt us. But in eternity, our memories will haunt us for an eternity.
Thus, I invite you to consider this sobering thought; live today knowing you will remember your decisions forever!