Hello everyone and welcome to episode 93, Remembering Deepens Our Relationships. Only 7 more programs until we reach that magic triple-digit number of 100 episodes.

And in 3 days we’ll also mark the 5th anniversary of the day my book was published, entitled THEM – The Richer Life Found in Caring for Others. Few people know this, but it was selected by Writer’s Digest as the best inspirational book of 2016. If you remember back to 2016, you may recall there was a real lack of inspiration that year, so the completion wasn’t too tough. Nevertheless, I felt honored that the book won this award.

This anniversary is inspiring me to offer the book to our listeners at 25% off the retail price, good though the end of this month. All proceeds of the sale of the book go to support our missionary care ministry, Caring for Others. Go to caringforothers.org/store to order. Be sure to enter “2016” in the Discount Coupon field.

A friend’s important question

Today I want to talk about a question a friend of mine raised several months ago in a meeting at our house. It was for a group of leaders and interested people in our church who wanted to raise their skill level in caring for people in their small groups.

In that meeting we talked about the importance of setting aside our needs, and concerns for a time, so we could tune in the people in our group undistracted by issues or things we were dealing with ourselves. This creates an environment where we can ask others clarifying and follow-up questions.

At the end of the meeting, my friend Chris, sitting next to his wife on our little blue sofa said, “I finally get this, I really do. But what’s next? What do I do now?

Today’s show will attempt to answer Chris’s important question.

The O.R.A. principle of deepening relationships

I want to answer Chris’s question in the context of what we’ve been considering the best few episodes, the ORA principle of deepening relationships. If we want deeper relationships it’s helpful to observe people- remember something about them, then ask them questions. O.R.A. We started with asking questions, then backtracked to observing people so you have something to ask them about.

Today we talk about that all-important ORA principle in the middle: Remembering. Remembering things about people. Remembering what they’ve told us, and remembering what we’ve observed about them. Recalling what people said and what we observe about them gives us something meaningful to talk about. Remembering deepens our relationships.

The problem of remembering

Deepening a relationship is not a linear process. It’s not a step-by-step orderly process like baking a cake or building a house. It’s a circular process.

We are a forgetful people. We are prone not the remember. Remembering, or not forgetting, is mention often in the bible. Deuteronomy 8 mentions at least 4 different times the importance of remembering or not forgetting. In this case, to not forget all that God has done for the children of Israel and to remember to obey his commands.

In Psalm 113:2, David writes, “Let all that I am praise the Lord, may I never forget the good things he does for me.”

The importance of remembering

In John 2 there are at least 2 instances recorded about the disciples remembering something from scripture or their prior encounter with Jesus

Remembering becomes part of being “Unconsciously Competent” in our relationships. It’s level 4 in a series we did on relationship skills two years ago. Check out episode 14 if you want a refresher on this relational skill level.

Remembering the past helps us understand the present in our relationships

Birthdays are all about remembering. Randy’s note. Birthday celebrations. Surprise birthdays.

Birthday and anniversary celebrations are about remembering. So are holy days, like Christmas and Easter. They are about remembering. National holidays, like Memorial Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Independence Day here in the US are about remembering.

Imagine what it would be like if we forgot Christmas, Easter, and Memorial Day? What if we didn’t remember Thanksgiving and Independence Day? Life is so much richer when we remember these events in our history.

Equally so, our relationships are so much richer when we remember even the small things. Remembering deepens our relationships.

The benefits of remembering

Remembering is about where we, and others, have come from.

Communion is all about remembering. Jesus says at the last supper and the first communion, whenever you do this, do it in remembrance of me.

Remembering gives us context with people. It adds meat to the bones of our relationship. How well we remember is an indicator of the depth of our relationship with someone.

It’s important to remember the bad stuff, too. Remember bad patterns of behavior in others. It helps to predict what the future will be like in that relationship. Burn me once, shame on you. Burn me twice, shame on me.

Examples from my recruiting days. Remember the data, it’s more predictive than hope. we hope he doesn’t repeat his bad behavior.

Remember the good within the context of the bad.

Here are a few ideas for how we can respond to today’s program

How do you do this? How do you remember to deepen your relationships?

Reduce the busyness in your life so you have room in your mind and heart for things worth remembering. Get rid of the mental and emotional clutter to free up space.

Pray for people.

Write things down.

Use what you see, what you observe. When you do this well, you’ll be reminded of things. You’ll think to yourself, “Oh yeah, when I saw X do Y, I thought of Z. Maybe I should ask him about it.”

Football players have playbooks. They repeat the same plays over and over again so that in a game they don’t have to remember exactly what to do. It becomes 2nd nature to them. You don’t want to have to think in the heat of the moment.

Go from remembering to being intuitive. Where it’s wired, or re-wired into your DNA. It’s step 4 of Relational Skill development, Unconsciously Skilled, where you remember things about another person without even trying.

From Dorcas: 1/20/21

“So two things that stuck out with your ORA principle.  One, you nailed it when going over reasons why people say they don’t want to ask questions…like that would be nosey, etc.  You were right!  I smiled when you said, “that’s a cop-out”!  And it is a cop-out…some people just don’t want to get involved or go deeper.

“The second thing that brought comfort and encouragement was reminding me “Observing – Remembering – Asking is a skill. And like any skill, it takes repetition and practice.”  Even old dogs can learn new tricks or improve on ones that have gotten rusty.  Refreshing!  Thanks, John.”

Remembering is like a bank.

We make deposits into it, and also withdrawals from it. Deposit more than you withdraw.

I used to ask my grandkids when they were much younger, “Hey kids, what are we doing now? Making memories, grandpa.”

Make deposits in the memory banks of others, that they can withdraw from later. Funeral services can be like this, where family and friends of the deceased share memories of the person who died. It’s withdrawing from our memory bank what the person deposited into our account before they passed on.

As always, of course, we can pray to God that he will help us remember.

As always, another thing you could do is let me and your fellow listeners know what resonated with you about today’s episode. The easiest way is to put your thoughts in an email and send them to me, john@caringforothers.org. Or you can share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes.

If you forget everything else, here’s one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode.

Work at remembering things about the people in our life to the point it’s no longer work. Set aside our own concerns and needs occasionally, to create space to remember important data about the important people in our life. Remembering deepens our relationships.


I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act by remembering what people have said and what you observe about them. In doing so you will find the joy God intends for you through your relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.

That’s all for today. See you next week. Goodbye for now.

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