What sort of things are we talking about here? The Bible is pretty clear:
“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32 )
When the Apostle Paul wrote that we are to let go of all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and slander, he’s suggesting that we make the first move. We must be intentional in letting all of these sinful behaviors go and take the initiative to be kind to others, showing tender hearts, and remembering to forgive others, especially considering how much more we’ve been forgiven. C.S.Lewis put it unforgettably:
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
Letting go means not looking back. “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
You can’t drive successfully with your eyes fixed on the mirror, constantly checking what’s behind.
As I know to my cost.
But “forgetting what lies behind” doesn’t mean we can wipe it from our memories. That’s how we learn; mistakes are great teachers, but Paul is telling us to stop dwelling on the past. As they say, “Don’t trip over what’s behind you.” Your goals lie ahead, not behind. God has hopes and plans and dreams for your future just down the track….
Isaiah 43:18-19: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
So don’t “consider the things of old” because God’s going to do “a new thing.” Whatever today or tomorrow holds for us will be new to us, so trust God. He will make a way, even if you’re in the wilderness right now. God can make “rivers in the desert.”
Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”
When I read this Bible verse I sometimes think of Joseph who was unfairly treated by his own brothers and then sold into slavery. From there, he ended up in prison, and again from something he was innocent of. But the Bible insisted that “The LORD was with Joseph” (Gen 39:2), when he was in charge of Potiphar’s house and while he was in prison (Gen 39:23). Think about that! God can even weave the things that went wrong into His own good purposes for my future (Gen 50:20).
So here I am Lord, waiting before you. I have things on my mind. What are you saying to me?
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) Why do we often carry around our own burdens when we can come to Him with all of the heavy stuff? Jesus tells us, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matt 11:28-29), because His “yoke is easy” and His “burden is light.”
It reminds me of a story from the childood of Corrie Ten Boom:
“Because of something she heard in school, Corrie asked her father what “sex sin” was while the two of them were riding on a train together. The father asked the little girl to carry his bag off the train. When she admitted that she could not do so, he said he would not be much of a father to expect this of her. The load was too heavy. This was the case, he said, with some knowledge. She needed to trust her father to give her knowledge at the right time.”
Jesus is the burden-bearer. He carries the heavy suitcases.
What are the things which you have to lay down? What are the things you are not designed to carry?
Sin. The things you’ve done wrong.
Guilt. The lingering regret for those things.
If we say we have not sinned, we deceive ourselves. But if we confess it to God, then through the cross of Christ, God forgives and releases us from that burden. You are not designed to carry the burden of sin nor its guilt.
Unforgiveness, bitterness, grudges. As Anne Lamott said:
“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”
The point is that you can let go of things; even if it something has you in its grip. The key is to let go and let God have it. We can do nothing without Christ (John 15:5), and yet everything with Him (Phil 4:13).
He can handle the load when we cannot, so let go. The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.
Here’s Steve Maraboli’s Dare to be. Have a lovely Sunday!
“When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.
When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.
When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.
When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.
When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.
When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.
When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.
When times are tough, dare to be tougher.
When love hurts you, dare to love again.
When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.
When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.
When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.
When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.
When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.
When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.
Dare to be the best you can –
At all times, Dare to be!”