Memory is a genuine blessing in many ways. With the capability of memory comes the capacity to recall special people and events and use those memories in rewarding ways. In addition, memory allows the recall of painful moments or hurtful people as well. The Bible has much to say in encouraging the appreciation of memory and using it to advantage in serving God. After all, Jesus commanded, “remember Lot’s wife.” (Lk. 17:32) This is but one passage instructing us to remember some event or person and to learn valuable lessons therefrom. Consider a brief passage in Proverbs that speaks profoundly of memory.

“The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.” (Prov. 10:7)

The word memory means remembrance or memory; the word just means righteous or just; the other words are clearly understood. A person of integrity – who lives according to the principles of honesty and justice – is remembered fondly, frequently, and blessedly by those privileged to know that person. God’s word encourages people of truth and without deceit. (Eph. 4:25; Phil. 4:8; 1 Ths. 4:3-6) A person of integrity can profoundly impact other people, and this verse testifies that the memory of such a person is a lasting blessing. If a person is not just, words of acclaimed justness can be declared at one’s funeral or written on one’s tombstone, but those words have little bearing on the memories of those who knew the person. It is declared that the name of the wicked shall rot. A wicked person is not remembered with blessing; such a person is remembered for his sin and his iniquity; he is remembered for his participation in the wrong. Such a person will not be remembered fondly; rather, his name shall rot.

How do you wish others to remember you? This question does not apply only to the state after one’s death; it equally applies to others who know you know. How do other objective-minded people remember you? Are you known as a just person, one of high integrity and morals, one devoted to the ways of God above all else? If so, that plan for life will cause you to be a blessing to others, and their memory of you will be a blessing indeed. Of course, once you pass from this life, your memory will continue to bless the lives of many souls who remember with fondness your commitment to God’s truth. (Josh. 24:15)

On the other hand, if you are a person considered by objective people to be wicked, then the situation is completely different. For example, if you are considered to be one of selfish motive, prompted by greed and selfishness, then your life will bless very few. Others will recognize your priorities and your pursuits , and they will have little respect for you. In effect, your name shall rot away in the cesspool of iniquity and carelessness.

What about other people’s memory of you? If it is not as it should be, if your name is not as it should be, you can begin to change your perception by others from wicked (whose name shall rot) to just (whose memory is blessed). May each of us choose a “good name” (Prov. 22:1) and live as just (Prov. 10:7) so that our memory as held by others will be a blessing. It is tragic to contemplate one’s name rotting away as the wicked due to opposing God and His truth.