Forget About It — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Forget About It — Morning Devotions

Sometimes forgetting the past is the right decision to make in order to move forward. It isn't easy sometimes, but the Bible has something to say about it.

By Chris WittsThursday 11 Apr 2024Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 1 minute

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The American Civil War was a very dark chapter for America in the mid 1800s. It is estimated that half a million men died as a result of those terrible years. Even to this day, the exact number cannot be precise. But the American General, Robert E Lee, is still considered in parts of America, at least as a hero.

But there’s a little story that’s not all that well known about Robert E Lee. Sometime after 1865 when the war ended, he was in Kentucky one day visiting a home, and as the lady of the house showed him around her home, she pointed out to a battered tree trunk standing on the front lawn. And she was quite angry. ‘Do you know, General?’ She said, ‘that that used to be a beautiful, magnificent magnolia tree. But look at it. They blasted it with their artillery and that’s all that’s left. Now what do you think about that?’

The lady that day expected the general to sympathise with her and to criticise the Union army who caused all that damage. But he looked intently at her and said, ‘cut it down and forget about it.

The art of forgetting

It wasn’t the answer she was expecting. Obviously, she was hurt by the damage to her tree, which I guess symbolised the terrible carnage of those times. Of course, it’s a simple story. Maybe it’s not very important, but I can just see here an interesting lesson. There are some issues in life that we’ve really got to forget about. Move onto some more important issues.

We’ve been hurt or disappointed in life. We have a problem. And what can we do about it? Can we leave it in the past? Forget about it?

Yes, it’s easier said than done. Things don’t disappear on their own. I mean, you need to make a commitment in some things, at least to let them go. Because if you don’t make this conscious choice upfront, you could end up self-sabotaging any effort to move on from the past hurt.

So making this decision to let it go means accepting you’ve got a choice. Yes, you can actually do something. Let it go to stop reliving the past, maybe the pain or going over and over the details of the story in your head. We don’t live in a world of black and whites. And even when sometimes it feels like we do, we you may not have had the same amount of responsibility for the hurt you experienced it may have had.

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It wasn’t your fault. There may have been a part of the hurt that you are partially responsible for. Each experience is different, of course.

Changing attitudes

So are you an active participant or a victim? People can sometimes be a victim. They can’t let go of things that happened in the past. We may not have to forget another person’s bad behaviour, but they do deserve our forgiveness, and we can be stuck in our pain and stubbornness.

But forgiveness is not saying I agree with what you did. It’s saying I don’t agree with what you did, but I forgive you anyway. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s simply saying you did something that hurt me, I want to move forward in my life. I don’t want to get stuck. So forgiveness is a way of letting something go. It’s a way of empathising with the other person, seeing it from their point of view.

We find it hard as I’ve said, to let go of the past. The past can actually be one of the worst enemies we’ve got when trying to make a fresh start. Why not consider what God’s word says in Isaiah 43. A great statement. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” And that comes from chapter 43 in the book of Isaiah. Forget the former of things. Don’t dwell on the past. And historically, of course, that referred to the way of God’s chosen people. He brought them out of captivity into a new land. But the miracle is that the word is alive and fresh. Today it’s still relevant. God doesn’t want us to be bogged down in the past.

So there’s simply nothing to be gained by going back to the past. It was in the Peanuts cartoon where Lucy is apologising to Charlie Brown for missing a fly ball. They call it that in the American baseball game. She’s sorry that she missed the fly ball says. She says it all happened because she remembered all the other things she’d missed. She said, “The trouble with me, Charlie. The past got in my eyes.” Well, maybe the past can be removed from your eyes today.

Let’s Pray

Lord, there’s a lesson here. We need to forget about some things and move forward with your help. Amen.