One of the biggest mistakes that we make as humans is holding onto the things that hurt us most. We hold onto the mistakes of our past: things we’ve said and done that we wish we hadn’t. We hold onto the mistakes of others; when someone hurts us, our first reaction is to lash out and carry a grudge. We hold onto worries about the future, instead of simply trusting that God has it under control. And as all these things start to pile up, we become weighed down. So how can we learn to let go? And what does the Bible have to say about it?
Ephesians 4:31-32 (KJV) says, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Are these words that describe our daily lives? Are we bitter toward the world around us? Do we become angry with those who disagree with us? Do we secretly slander our enemies and wish ill upon them? Here, we are told clearly that these things are not God’s will. No matter how much we try to rationalize it, holding onto these sinful thoughts only ends up hurting both parties in the end. We are instructed, instead, to be filled with the love and compassion of Jesus. What would it look like if we forgave as He has forgiven us? Another powerful verse about letting go is Philippians 3:13: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.” The Apostle Paul suffered a great deal of turmoil throughout his life as a Christian. He was beaten, spit on, thrown in jail, and starved for his faith. Yet even he refused to dwell on all these things of the past. Instead, he chose to look forward to the eternal joy that was ahead. And we can do the same.
The struggles that we have faced may have been difficult. And it will almost certainly take time to heal from each and every blow; but we have to trust that we can and will heal. The scars of our past do not have to decide our future; everything we’ve gone through previously has led us to where we are now. We might not be able to change the past, but we can change the trajectory of what’s to come. We can choose, in the here and now, to let go of the pain and allow Christ to come in and fill us with peace. We can have great confidence that because of His work on the cross, we will one day be surrounded by the glory of God. We need only to let go of the troubles of this world – and seek His Kingdom first.
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