Summary: Letting It Go
I believe that I must state in the beginning of this preachment hour that LETTING GO IS A CHOICE NOT BECAUSE IT FEELS RIGHT, BUT BECAUSE IT IS RIGHT! Often I hear people say, "I cannot forgive him because he hurt me to badly." What they’re saying is simply "I cannot voluntarily commit to forgiveness because I cannot emotionally get over the hurt." But forgiving and forgetting cannot be done emotionally until it is first done voluntarily.
We say, "If I felt it, I would act it," but Scriptures teaches, "If we act it, we will feel it." Paul acknowledges his struggle to become everything Christ intended when he reached out and touched his life. The apostle reminds us that we must concentrate total focus and unrestrained energy on dealing with the past before progress can be made in the journey of towards tomorrow. How powerful is his declaration, "But one thing I do." What is the one main thing he has committed to do? To forget those things which are behind, as verse 13 states.
In the second chapter of Revelations, Jesus the Bridegroom reprimands the Ephesian church, His bride, for falling out of love with him. In the three-point prescription for her sickness, He tells her "Remember, repent and do." Not a word of emotion in this passage. There is nothing the bride is told to feel, but there are three things she is told to do, "Remember, repent, and do again her first works; in other words, she is to act as she once did. It is in the doing that emotion thrives.
David is a marvelous example of a conscious choice to let go of the past. After the birth of his son, David lay prostrate on the floor fasting and praying for eight days and nights pleading with God for his son’s life. God chose not to answer David’s prayer. When the servants came told him, "The boy is dead," David did not rise up in anger, curse God, and refuse to be consoled; but as a mature believer, he made the choice to go on with his life. Second Samuel 12:20 says, "Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshipped. Then he went to his house, and at his request they served him food, and he ate."
As human beings, we consist of three parts:
-- The mind -- the seat of knowledge, where we know.
-- The heart -- the seat of emotion, where we feel.
-- The soul -- the seat of the will, where we commit.
Turning loose of the past is never possible in the realm of the emotion. If you wait until you feel like forgiving, you will never forgive and will suffer the consequences. Forgiving is a choice of the will that you make in your soul.
I also think I need to tell you, REMEMBER THAT GOD IS NOT ACCOUNTABLE TO US, BUT WE ARE ACCOUNTABLE TO HIM.
Beneath the fruits of an unforgiving spirit is often a root of bitterness and anger against, Truth be told, many of us have never come to terms with the fact that we are really angry at God, whom we feel could have prevented catastrophe but did not. Casting blame on God for human acts has its beginnings early in human nature. Adam essentially blamed God for his fall when he said, "The woman you put here with me -- she gave me some of the fruit from the tree, and I ate it " (Gen. 3:12). The inference is clear: "God, it’s really your fault. Had you not given me this women, she could not have given me this people and I would not be in this fix."
Let me tell you a very sad story. A man in East Texas lost a very successful business due to the oil bust of the mid-1980s. Forced to move to Houston and start again, both he and his wife took new jobs - he as a gas station attendant and she as a secretary. In the office, she met a man, had an affair, and divorced a loving husband. Today he is still angry with God. How often have people hear him say, "Had God prevented the price of oil from going down, this economic tragedy never would have occurred; we never would have moved to Houston, and I would never have lost my wife. God it’s your fault." Perhaps you never have identified it, let alone articulated it, but just beneath your bitterness toward another person may be a layer of bitterness toward God, whom you blame for allowing it to happen in the first place.
After Job’s great loss, his wife said, "Curse God and die." Job’s answer was, "Shall I take good at the hand of God and not ill as well?"