Summary: Letting go is an informal process, not a science; nonetheless, it is helpful to grasp two concepts about this matter.
Letting Go Specifics
1. Two weeks ago, I tried to prove to you that the Bible teaches forgiveness is conditional, requiring repentance on the offender’s part. We forgive as God forgives.
2. We saw that forgiveness is a continuum. In some cases, forgiveness in the fullest sense – relating as though the offense never occurred – may, in some instances, be impossible.
3. Last week we talked about what not to do.
• We are not to seek revenge, though the desire for justice is not bad.
• We should not assume that it is wrong to have enemies; Jesus had many.
• We should not minimize major offenses as though not much, and would should not maximize minor offenses, at though a big deal.
• We should not view overlooking, forgiving, and letting go as the same thing.
• Overlooking is forbearing, and how we deal with minor infractions.
• Forgiving confronts and moves the focus toward the sin, and either offers or asks for an admission of wrong and request for forgiveness.
• Letting go/moving on moves away from the sin because forgiveness is not forthcoming or not possible. It seeks to lessen bitterness and dissipate a grudge.
4. We also talked about determinations we should make:
• Whether we were actually wrong or just did not get out way.
• Whether the hurt/wrong we suffered was intentional.
• How or if we contributed toward the sinful action.
• When seeking forgiveness, you are moving in. When moving on, moving away.
LETTING GO (moving on) seeks release from bitterness toward the non-repentant.
• This does not restore the relationship, but the best you can do when the offender won’t repent. Easier said than done, a long battle.
• When Laban kept changing Jacob’s wages, Jacob had to do a lot of this.
• If this an instance of being persecuted for our faith in Jesus.
• Reflect upon whether you have committed similar offenses and contemplate why.
• Determine if you are offended at God and projected that anger toward another.
Main Idea: Letting go is an informal process, not a science; nonetheless, it is helpful to grasp two concepts about this matter.
I. Remember that We Are Obligated to Love, Even our ENEMIES.
A. Because Christians wrongly think they don’t have enemies, they have never LEARNED how to love their enemies.
• In the Bible, sometimes love and hate aren’t feelings, but choices.
Luke 6:27, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…”
1. This is the love of duty, not necessarily feeling.
2. If there were no bad feelings, there would be no enemies.
3. Even if someone hates you and you don’t hate them, you still have bad feelings toward people who hate you.
B. We should view showing love to our enemies as a rare OPPORTUNITY to put this command to work.
II. Letting Go Is Not a One-Time Decision, but an Enduring DETERMINATION.
A. At first, we may think we can simply let sins and hurts dissipate by a simple DECISION, as though we were ROBOTS.
The temptation to deny or stuff will come back later to haunt you.
Psalm 39 describes David’s attempt to “stuff it;” It reads, “I said, ‘I will guard my ways,
that I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth with a muzzle, so long as the wicked are in my presence.’
“I was mute and silent; I held my peace to no avail, and my distress grew worse. My heart became hot within me. As I mused, the fire burned…” (Psalm 39:1-3a)
An interesting man named Ahithophel.
We can make a decision to begin the journey of letting it go soon after we are impacted.
Like Dorothy in the Munchkin city, we have to begin the journey with the first yellow brick.
B. We soon find ourselves REHEARSING the hurt repeatedly in our minds.
Sleepless nights, stress, tension.
Psalm 6:6, “I am weary with my moaning; every night I flood my bed with tears; I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief; it grows weak because of all my foes.”
This helps convince us that it is in our own best interest to let a matter go.
C. Eventually we determine to avoid FOCUSING upon the sin/betrayal.
1. You have to be ready. When Jesus talked to the lame man near the pool of Bethesda, he asked him, “Do you want to be healed (John 5:6b)?”
2. We can vacillate for a while and refocus on the infraction back and forth.
3. This is especially difficult for women – women’s brains are like the internet – they get pop-up windows from the past that just involuntarily surface…
D. It is crucial that we replace our LOSSES with new spiritual, social, and intellectual/artistic/athletic or new PURSUITS.