Friday, May 07, 2021

Deceptive Nostalgia

Nostalgia is often misleading. Our reasons for valuing something in the past were trivial or sinful. One of the questions Christians should ask themselves is how Christian their nostalgia is. And how much has it matured over time? If your most valued memories are trivial ones, that's a problem. If the memories that move your emotions the most and the ones you want to talk to other people about the most are sinful or are focused on less significant aspects of life, that should change.

There's nothing wrong with being nostalgic about holidays spent with relatives, a trivial song, or whatever. But are those things accompanied by nostalgia about your relationship with God, time spent doing more significant things in life, music of a more Christian and mature nature, etc.?

When I hear people talk about their most valued memories, their best experiences in life, and so forth, I'm often astonished at how immature they are. Even Christians often express sentiments of such an immature, and sometimes even anti-Christian, nature. What's going on in your life if what you most value has so little to do with God and has matured so little over time?

I love to tell the story; more wonderful it seems
Than all the golden fancies of all our golden dreams.


  1. I always like listening to this bit of John Newtons nostalgia:

    I asked the Lord that I might grow
    In faith and love and every grace
    Might more of His salvation know
    And seek more earnestly His face

    Twas He who taught me thus to pray
    And He I trust has answered prayer
    But it has been in such a way
    As almost drove me to despair

    I hoped that in some favored hour
    At once He'd answer my request
    And by His love's constraining power
    Subdue my sins and give me rest

    Instead of this He made me feel
    The hidden evils of my heart
    And let the angry powers of Hell
    Assault my soul in every part

    Yea more with His own hand He seemed
    Intent to aggravate my woe
    Crossed all the fair designs I schemed,
    Cast out my feelings, laid me low

    Lord why is this, I trembling cried
    Wilt Thou pursue thy worm to death?
    "Tis in this way" The Lord replied
    "I answer prayer for grace and faith"

    "These inward trials I employ
    From self and pride to set thee free
    And break thy schemes of earthly joy
    That thou mayest seek thy all in me,
    That thou mayest seek thy all in me."

  2. To me, the way John Newton testifies to his own maturation in the poem, stands in quite a contrast to the lure of the modern "You're best life now" so many seek.

  3. I suppose not remembering much helps. I don't look back at much with fondness, perhaps because I forgot most of it. And childhood through college was a slog, no thanks!