Why Let Go Of The Past?
In July, I had the privilege of giving the eulogy for an old friend. At the lunch after, we shared cherished memories and soaked in the blessings that Jeanne had brought to our lives. We can gain so much learning, comfort, joy when we revisit past experiences.
Why then would we want to let go of the past? As well as being a source of blessing, our past can also be a prison, keeping us from moving forward to new life. When past mistakes fill us with shame and guilt rather than offering a source of learning, we know it’s time to let go. When our anger boils up every time we think of past hurts, we know there is a wound that is festering, spreading its infection into our life today. When we lament that the goodness of the past is no longer with us, we become blinded to the new joy that surrounds us.
I offer the following questions to help you begin the process of letting go.
- In this situation what hurts me the most?
- What is the worst that can happen if I let go of the past?
- Who receives the punishment from my angry thoughts?
- What do I gain by hanging on to my pain?
When we’ve answered these questions as truthfully and thoroughly as possible, it’s time to ask for God’s help in letting go. Rather than praying for the other person to change, it’s time to ask God for new life for yourself. This process may not clear your mind immediately. You may need to work through it several times, and pray lots. Eventually, peace will come and you will open up to the new life God is offering you.
“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy times seven.” Matthew 18:21-23