Summary: A final look at letting go as we end the year. Looking at forgiving ourselves, as God already has forgiven us.
Letting Go - Forgiveness
December 29, 2019
Well, this is it! We’re on the final Sunday of this decade. Next time we meet, it will be a new decade. We’ll be writing 2020, instead of 2019.
Some of you would like this year to get over with already. It’s not been what you were hoping for. You’re thinking “good riddance to 2019 and let’s get 2020 started!!”
Others of you want the year to keep going. It’s been a good year and you don’t want to see it end!
For the month of December, we’ve been talking about letting go. And today is the last day of this series. We’re going to look at letting go of ourselves! Ooh, this is gonna be good. We’re talking about letting go of our past and moving forward.
Although we can't change our past, God can change our future. You see, here’s the thing about our past. It doesn’t always stay in the past. Isn’t that true. Anyone ever bring up something from the past. A reminder of what you did that time and the hurt you inflicted.
Sometimes, we can remember the funny things that have happened which lead to lots of laughter, the things that aren’t hurtful. Maybe they were at one time, but we know we’ve been forgiven and we can laugh about them now. We do need to make sure that those reminders about the past, are not with the intention to hurt another person.
Maybe you’ve blown up in anger more than a few times. You wish you could hit the rewind button and take it all back. But you can’t! You can’t take back the hurt you inflicted. Or maybe it’s the recurring sin, which becomes a constant reminder.
Maybe you failed or betrayed your spouse. Maybe it’s the expectations that you had for yourself years ago of what life would look like. But, today, it’s not what you thought and not in a good way. The past doesn't stay in our past.
If anybody understood what that was like, it was one of the disciples, Peter.
He's with the rest of the disciples at the Last Supper, the night that Jesus was betrayed, would go to trial, and later be crucified. When Jesus looked at His disciples and said, "Some of you will deny me and some of you will desert me." But Peter, who was never slow to speak, said what? He said, "No, Lord, even if all of these other people "betray you, deny you, not me, "even if I have to look death itself in the face, "I won't deny you."
Listen to the story from Luke and see how well Peter did –
54 Then they seized Jesus and led Him away, bringing Him into the high priest's house, and Peter was following at a distance.
55 And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them.
56 Then a servant girl, seeing Peter as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with Him.”
57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.”
58 And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.”
59 And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.”
60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
Have you ever been there? Have you ever let someone down? Have you ever run out on someone, maybe it was yourself, or a loved one, or even God. Here's what happened next in Luke 22:61-22 - -
61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord,
how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”
62 And he went out and wept bitterly.
Imagine you're Peter, and the Son of God, your leader, mentor, the Savior -- who's on trial for something He didn't do, who was going to die on a cross for sins He didn't commit in order to save people just like Peter. Peter saw Jesus perform countless miracles, yet Peter had just denied knowing Him, not once, not twice, but three times.
Jesus turns and looks him in the eye. What did Peter feel? Guilt! I can't believe I just did that. Shame, what if the other disciples find out what I did? Regret, I wish I could take it back. And while you’ve never seen that look from Jesus, many of us have seen that look before, haven't we?