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What does the bible say about repressed memory?

revised June 15, 2006

We have no way of knowing the historical accuracy or the empirical truth of the claims of those who say they have newly recovered memories of vile abuse at the hands of their parents. However, there is a way to discern if such people are allowing themselves to be guided by the Spirit of God or by the spirit of this world.

The Holy Bible lays down principles which make clear who is following God and who is not. Since the bible defines truth as being in the person of Jesus Christ, those who are seen to be following Jesus, not just by lip-service, but in fact, are more likely to exhibit His character.

The Bible says, "Who is the liar but he who denies Jesus Christ has come in the flesh?" Now most people won't deny that Jesus was a man who lived in biblcal times but many do deny that Jesus as the Son of God, Jesus as deity, Jesus as the only Savior for mankind, actually came in the flesh and did the exploits as literally described in the Holy Bible.

Since the bible says such people are liars, it might be well to critically examine the words of all those who deny that the Word of God who created this world and who holds it together by his mighty power, came down to earth as a man, to conquer sin, Satan, and death.

The Bible shows men in their natural state to all be liars. They are all in rebellion against God and his laws given to Moses which point out how utterly sinful man is, since the fall in the Garden of Eden.

Since a rebel against God will also be in rebellion against God's rules and against those who stand in for God's authority, a person in rebellion against God will also be in rebellion against his/her own parents. All authority, including parental authority is ordained by God. It matters not one whit, how good a job that person does in his office of authority in determining who is a rebel and who is walking in obedience to God and his Word.

The matter is determined in the heart, not by circumstances. God looks on the heart, and cannot be fooled by superficial niceties.

Those who lie are denying the Lord of Glory who the bible says is truth personified. If they dishonor God they will also dishonor their father and mother. If they dishonor their parents, they will also dishonor God, their Creator. The two are linked irrevokably.

Rebels are liars by definition. Liars dishonor and disrespect their parents. They don't live their lives by the rules like God requires of all men. They do not respect authority. Rebels and liars are afraid of authority although they may go to great lengths to deny this.

Rebels and liars are in fact cowards. The Bible says "the coward dies a thousand deaths, the valiant only one."

It is easy to see then that people who are willing to tell lies, are likely to dishonor their parents. By that same reasoning, those who are willing to slander or dishonor parents are willing to lie. If we observe someone disrespecting or speaking badly of their parents, it would not be wrong to suspect them of lying as well.

A liar tells lies, because he is a rebel and a liar. He/she is not a liar because of the lie.

Those who claim to have recovered "memories" of abuse in therapy and who use these to castigate their fathers and mothers are aiding the cause of the destroyer, not the cause of God. The bible says " For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death."
Matthew 15:4-see also Mark 10:19
Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Ephesians 6:1-3

Those who disobey this principle apparently will find that their slander will come back upon their own heads. Those who fear the Lord should not be misled by stories of years-old abuse which is being used to slander fathers or mothers regardless of the fervent emotions with which such stories may be told.

  1. Hear me your father, O children, and do thereafter, that ye may be safe.
  2. For the Lord hath given the father honour over the children, and hath confirmed the authority of the mother over the sons.
  3. Whoso honoureth his father maketh an atonement for his sins:
  4. And he that honoureth his mother is as one that layeth up treasure.
  5. Whoso honoureth his father shall have joy of his own children; and when he maketh his prayer, he shall be heard.
  6. He that honoureth his father shall have a long life; and he that is obedient unto the Lord shall be a comfort to his mother.
  7. He that feareth the Lord will honour his father, and will do service unto his parents, as to his masters.
  8. Honour thy father and mother both in word and deed, that a blessing may come upon thee from them.
  9. For the blessing of the father establisheth the houses of children; but the curse of the mother rooteth out foundations.
  10. Glory not in the dishonour of thy father; for thy father's dishonour is no glory unto thee.
  11. For the glory of a man is from the honour of his father; and a mother in dishonour is a reproach to the children.
  12. My son, help thy father in his age, and grieve him not as long as he liveth.
  13. And if his understanding fail, have patience with him; and despise him not when thou art in thy full strength.
  14. For the relieving of thy father shall not be forgotten: and instead of sins it shall be added to build thee up.
  15. In the day of thine affliction it shall be remembered; thy sins also shall melt away, as the ice in the fair warm weather.
  16. He that forsaketh his father is as a blasphemer; and he that angereth his mother is cursed: of God.
Sirach 3:1-16 {Apocrypha}

The bible settles the matter of recovered memory, leaving no room for unproven therapy theories or hollow philosophies of worldly wisemen.

What does the bible actually say about "repression" of wrongs done to us by others? It says nothing at all about such things!

What the bible does speak of is repression of wrongs we have done to others. The Bible calls these wrongs "sin." The natural human propensity is to keep our sins against others out of our own awareness and not to look at them.

The Bible says we must forgive those who wrong us and pray for them. We must give our lust for vengeance over to the Lord for He is the only one able to take proper vengenance. "Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord!"

Therefore one must conclude that the idea of repressed memory due to trauma is a totally unbibical concept. Since therapists say such things happen normally they are demonstrating their lack of biblical knowledge and disregard for the truth of God's Word. This has resulted in their ignorance and shame being exposed for those who have eyes to see.

The bible has clearly decided the recovered memory issue which confuses so many. It is a good example of why it is so important to just believe what God has said instead of leaning on one's own understanding or looking for what appears to be pragmatic. The therapists and other pragmatists are proving themselves to be often wrong.

The abuse memories being claimed by so many adult women are based on an unproven and false theory. Therefore all such recovered memories are most probably false. The only thing yet to be determined is the mechanism which convinces these women that their lie is valid and to determine what payoff they receive from practicing such deceit.

Suggestion from therapists, books, movies, talk shows, survivor groups, etc. supply sufficient material for the imagination to fantasize into abuse scenarios if a person is not strongly grounded in a love of truth.

Unfortunately, in our decadent society, many people do not seem to have a proper love of truth. Truth doesn't sell very well in the book stores. It seems that most are more interested in idols and fantasies than in absolute truth.

If a person does not have a burning passionate desire to know the truth, if a person does not actually love truth, he cannot know it. This is the way God set up his universe. Those who reject truth{God's only begotten Son} are disqualifing themselves from knowing truth and are provoking God into sending them a strong delusion.

Hypnosis only works because someone has relaxed his critical skepticism and traded his God-given common sense for "expert" opinion. If a person is too lazy to do his own thinking or to question unproven theories and opinions which don't line up with the Word of God, he will allow hypnosis to affect his belief system and possibly his identity.

In my opinion, the payoff for the adult women and the few men claiming vile abuse at the hands of the parents after years of no such knowledge is that their burden of guilt can be shifted to someone else.

I will explain why I believe guilt is the trigger for a person with a loving family to suddenly turn on that family and treat them with disrespect, even as monsters.

Guilt is a feeling that human beings cannot endure. It is both a feeling and a state of being. The bible says guilt is due to violating one or more laws of God. Psychology says that guilt feelings are produced when someone violates his own moral code. Either way, guilt feelings are produced in the person and the effects of guilt feelings can be harmful if not dealt with properly.

For instance, King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah, one of David's loyal fighting men. She became pregnant, and David feared the shame of having his guilt found out. Rather than face up to his sin and guilt before God, David did as most men and tried to cover up his guilt. This involved more sin as cover-ups always do.

After several tries to fool Uriah, David decided to just put him in the front line of battle and have the other troops withdraw, and Uriah would be killed in his service, thus no more problem.

Thus Uriah was killed fighting for his king in loyal service unaware that his wife had betrayed him with the king for whom he gave his life.. David had covered his sin as far as any except Bathsheba knew. Just one thing David had forgotten. God was watching and God knew all about his sin of adultery and now his sin of murder.

It is the same way with all of us. We sin, and then try to cover up our sin and the shame of being found out. All sorts of devices are used to complete this cover-up. None are effective since God still sees and will eventually send his prophet to point his finger at our nose and say,
"You are the man!"

There will be consequences to our sin and to our guilt, and our actions will find us out. These consequences will be far greater than we intended or foresaw when we were first tempted into the sinful behavior.

The best and least harmful remedy for our sin is to fall on our face before God right now and tell him we are guilty and cry out for his pardon. He will freely pardon all who come to him in this way. To continue to hide and evade and to cover up sin, guilt, and shame is to invite catastrophe, and utter destruction.

Guilty people all need scapegoats; others to blame for their own sin. Those who make the best scapegoats are those without blemish. Now guilty adult children would not use their parents for this unless first something happens to weaken the love they feel for parents and the belief they have that their parents love them.

This change in beliefs is supplied by the therapist who flatters the client rather than confronting about their sin. By the time the therapist is finished redefining a person's life, they not only have forgotten who their parents are and the love they have been shown by them, they have also forgotten their own true identity.

Then when a finger is pointed at the parents saying they are flawed or even that they are abusers, it is easy for the adult child who is reeling under a burden of unrepented guilt, to make such an allegation. It places self one up to the accused parent. Self may be bad, and self may be guilty, but at least it feels good to be able to point out the imperfections n one who is in authority over self, i.e. a parent.

Flattery is deceitful, but it does feel good. A person who allows feelings to make his decisions rather than reason and fact is going down a very destructive path.

As the process evolves, the parent comes to look more and more evil while the self comes to be viewed more and more as god, having projected its evil and wickedness over onto the parent. Thus, the more a parent may have sacrificed or given to the child, the more the parent may have truely loved and protected the child, the greater the hatred and disrespect the child comes to have for the parent.

As the child engages in hateful behavior towards the parent he comes to view the parent with even more vitriol since he must now justify his own evil behavior and tells himself he would not treat someone with such disrespect unless it was warranted so attacks them even more.

This same mechanism can be seen to be at work in divorce situations, where a spouse sins by opting for divorce, but is aware that the partner they are leaving is the innocent party who doesn't want to break their marriage covenant.

Then as the leaving spouse behaves sinfully towards the faithful spouse, his attitude begins to change so as to justify his wicked behavior towards them and to project his own guilt onto them. By the end of the process he will have fully justified his leaving the marriage due to the character flaws which are his own but which he now sees to be in the one he left.

This same process is at work in adult children disparaging their parents and attempting to justify it with questionable "memories" of vile abuse from long ago. This is simply rebellion with the added twist of fake abuse claims sanctioned by the therapy industry which is too greedy and too blinded by its own fame and press clippings to discern that they are being used by guilty rebels.

Rather than hearing confession of the people's sins, they receive pay to hear the people confess the sins of others, usually their parents. This is an ungodly practice and as such has my condemnation.

If the therapists involved were not obligated to provide safe and ethical standards of care, based on truth, one could almost feel sorry for them.

Therapists have confused repression of wrongs by their clients towards others for a demonic doctrine; repression of wrongs done to us by others. The latter, rather than being repressed, we remember all too well.

The Idolatry of Christian Psychology