"Let It Go"
LET IT GO (1)
"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." Isaiah 43:18 NIV
What do you do when your memory drags the 'there and then' into the 'here and now,' immersing you in the same old pain? The Bible answers, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?" Your past can infect your present and influence your future unless you decide to let it go. For the next few days, let's think about it.
First, let go of what God has forgiven! God's only response to confessed sin is to forgive and forget it. If it comes up again, you, not He, brought it up. "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us...and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Two things make letting go difficult: (1) Your feelings. "I just don't feel forgiven!" you say. You're forgiven by God's grace obtained through Christ's sacrifice - regardless of emotions. Don't wait to feel it before you accept it; accept it and you'll start to feel it! (2) A wrong concept of God. You say, "My dad says he forgives me, but each time I fail all my old offenses are thrown in my face again." Your Heavenly Father doesn't operate that way. "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more" (Isa 43:25 NIV). God doesn't bring them up because He doesn't remember them. All your sins were judged and paid for at Calvary. Once confessed, you'll never again be charged with them, so rejoice and let them go. The Court of Heaven has ruled you 'not guilty.'
LET IT GO (2)
"...God has made me forget all my trouble..." Genesis 41:51 NIV
Second, let go of what others have done to you! Thorns come with roses, and hurts come with human relationships. And few hurts go as deeply as those inflicted by friends and family. Ask Joseph, who was sold out by his brothers and locked up in a foreign prison for a crime he never committed. It's the stuff bitterness, depression, despair and defeat are made of. And who'd have blamed him? But Joseph knew that God, not his abusers, had the last word; that He, not they, would decide his future. Others can wound you, but no one can destroy you without your permission and cooperation. It's not what they do to you that determines your outcomes, it's what you do next. Joseph decided to let the offenses go, accept responsibility for his own reactions and trust in God. When you do that you take away others power over you, open yourself to new options, and make choices that position you to come out stronger, wiser and more blessed.
Notice: (a) Joseph saw it from God's perspective. "You did not send me here...God did...to keep you alive by a great deliverance" (Gen 45:8); (b) he released his resentment. He moved beyond it and ministered to the needs of those who had hurt him; (c) he refused to become a victim of other people's actions. As a result God made him "ruler over all...Egypt" (v8); (d) he prepared for the future. How? By excelling in his prophetic and administrative gifts, even though imprisoned (Gen 41:39).
So, choose to see it God's way. Let it go. Do what you've been called to do, and watch God vindicate you royally!"...I persecuted the church..."Galatians 1:13 NIV
LET IT GO (3)
"...I persecuted the church..." Galatians 1:13 NIV
Third, let go of what you have done to others! The wounds we've inflicted on others can weigh us down. The drunk-driving accident. The family shattered by divorce. The words said in anger. The abortion. The bad decision that left someone hurt. We can't wound others and remain whole ourselves, so the 'memory of failures past' dogs our days, fills our nights with remorse and steals our peace of mind.
How do I live with the things I've done? Enter Saul of Tarsus, a man with a record. "...I violently persecuted God's church. I did my best to destroy it" (Gal 1:13 NLT). He'd torn believers from their families leaving traumatized children watching their parents carried off to flogging, imprisonment and death. Now, a convert to Christianity and a preacher of the Gospel, he meets the widows and orphans in the churches he once persecuted. How do you handle such a situation? A crucial decision faced him. He could shoulder the guilt until it broke him and maybe even made him an addict or a suicidal wreck. Or he could roll it onto shoulders big enough to carry it and walk away free. He calls out, "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Rom 7:24 NKJV). The answer follows instantly, "Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom 7:25 TLB). The result? "Even though I was...a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy..." (1 Tim 1:13 NIV).
Today that same mercy is yours for the taking. Make amends where possible, trust God to heal the hurts you've caused, and let it go!
LET IT GO (4)
"I will make up to you for the years that the...locust has eaten..." Joel 2:25 NAS
Fourth, let go of what you failed to do! "If I could just go back, I'd..." The poet said, "The saddest words of tongue or pen, are these, we hear, 'It might have been.'" Not one of us escapes the long shadow of 'opportunity missed.' We fail more frequently by what we didn't do than by what we did. We could have helped, healed, blessed, changed things for the better. But by pursuing our own interests we left words of love and gratitude unspoken. Avoiding unwanted consequences, we left the awkward truth unacknowledged. Evading the label, 'religious nut,' our witness remained mute. A responsibility unfulfilled, a decision sidestepped, an aging parent neglected, a child crowded out, a spouse excluded. "How different my life could have been if I'd pursued my education, accepted that promotion, made that investment, relocated, or taken a chance on love."
When the door is closed, the person's gone and the opportunity passed, it's time for: (a) letting it go. The same cross that cancels your sins of commission, cancels your sins of omission too. Confession, not remorse, brings God's forgiveness and cleansing from "all sin" (1 John 1:9); (b) renewing your faith in the God of second chances. He can "make up to you for the years that the locust has eaten" (Joel 2:25). Believe Him; He can place you where you'd be, had the opportunity never been lost; (c) asking God for a new dream, then "forgetting those things (old, sabotaged dreams) which are behind and reaching forward to those things (new dreams)...which are ahead, press forward," to a life of restored opportunity and fulfillment (Philip 3:13).
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