Genesis 41:50 And unto Joseph were born two sons before the years of famine came, which Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On bare unto him. 51 And Joseph called the name of the firstborn Manasseh: For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father’s house. 52 And the name of the second called he Ephraim: For God hath caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.
Whatever we remember, can feed hope to our heart (Lam. 3:21-24) or feed undesirable things. Whatever we feed becomes the strongest in us. We have to be careful that our remembering is positive because despair (to be utterly at a loss as to what to do), resentment (to re-feel painful experiences), and unforgiveness (a refusal to release an offense) are all rooted in remembering. The painful and hurtful things we need to learn from, extract the lesson God wants us to get from them, but then neglect to feed them and rehearse them so we can move forward.
I believe there is a tremendous message from Joseph’s (Jacob and Rachel’s son in his old age) painful experience. If you remember Joseph had two sons: one he named Menasseh, who was the first and Ephraim who was the second. He named Menasseh first; he named Ephraim second. Menasseh means to FORGET; Ephraim means to be FRUITFUL (or blessed). I believe the Lord used the sequence of naming his sons strategically to give us a lesson:
FORGET FIRST; THEN BE FRUITFUL.
The lesson was not saying to God, “If you will make me fruitful, I will forget.” No, he realized his FORGETTING would unlock his FRUITFULNESS (or blessing) and his future. So often the same is true for us that our memory of a painful past keeps us out of the future God has planned for us. If you are the one who made the mistake, receive forgiveness, extract the lesson you’ve learned, but then move forward. To continually rehearse it only nurses it to allow it to stop you from moving into your future. It is our forgetting that opens the doors to our greatest opportunities and blessings; therefore, remember to forget.