If you are familiar with American history, you may know how that on December 7, more than 2,600 American soldiers lost their lives. But if you think I am talking about December 7, 1941, and the battle that took place at Pearl Harbor, you would be mistaken. I am talking about the events that transpired on December 7, 1862 in the little community of Prairie Grove, Arkansas.
On this date in 1862, Union and Confederate forces engaged each other in battle, and when the dust settled, more than 2,600 Americans were dead. On December 7, 1862, America lost more than two hundred more lives than we lost on this same date in 1941. Yet, how is it that the majority of those reading this article have forgotten about or have never known of the Battle of Prairie Grove? How is it that everyone knows of December 7, 1941 as a “date which will live in infamy,” but few remember December 7, 1862?
Surely, there are several contributing factors to this, but one may be that we have the tendency to take greater offense at harm caused by outsiders than we do caused by ourselves. We’re oftentimes more inclined to remember the sins of others and to forget or minimize our own sins.
For example, if a husband and wife are having marital problems, how quick is the wife’s family to put the blame on the husband and acquit the wife of any wrong doing; and vice-versa for the husband and his family? How often are the flaws of one’s own family minimized while magnifying the flaws in others who aren’t family? In other words, offenses are always worse and more memorable when perpetuated by someone else than when I do the same thing.
On December 7, 1862, we suffered the loss of more than 2600 lives at our own hands. On December 7, 1941, we suffered the loss of 2400 lives at the hands of outsiders. We forget about the first and memorialize the second. The lesson I want you to remember from today’s date, December 7 is that we should give care not to minimize or trivialize our own faults. Our sins are as devastating to God as the next guy’s sins. Don’t be so short-sighted that you forget or overlook your own faults while forever more memorialize as “a date which will live in infamy,” the faults of others. Give it some thought.