Forget About It — Morning Devotions - Hope 103.2

Forget About It — Morning Devotions

There is simply nothing to be gained by going back to past hurts and refusing to get over them. Move on and allow God to bring inner healing for your hurts.

Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.

By Chris WittsSunday 16 Aug 2020Morning Devotions with Chris WittsDevotionsReading Time: 4 minutes

The American Civil War was a dark chapter for America in the mid 1800s—it’s estimated half a million men died as a result of those bloody years. Even to this day the number cannot be precise. The American General Robert E. Lee is still considered a hero by some, an enemy by others.

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

The lady expected the general to sympathise with her and criticise the Union’s army who caused the damage. But he looked intently at her and said, “Cut it down and forget about it”. It was not the answer she was expecting. Obviously she was hurt by the damage to her tree, which symbolised the terrible carnage of those times.

A simple story, and I guess not very important. But I can see an interesting lesson. There are some issues in life we must forget about and move on to more important issues. We have been hurt or disappointed in life, and have a problem. What do we do about them? Can we leave them in the past or forget about them? Easier said than done!

Decide to Let the Past Go

Things don’t disappear on their own. You need to make the commitment to ‘let it go’. If you don’t make this conscious choice up-front, you could end up self-sabotaging any effort to move on from this past hurt.

Making the decision to let it go also means accepting you have a choice to let it go. To stop reliving the past pain, to stop going over the details of the story in your head. We don’t live in a world of black-and-whites, even when sometimes it feels like we do.

While you may not have had the same amount of responsibility for the hurt you experienced, there may have been a part of the hurt that you are also partially responsible for. What could you have done differently next time? Are you an active participant in your own life—or simply a hopeless victim? Will you let your pain become your identity?

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We may not have to forget another person’s bad behaviours, but virtually everybody deserves our forgiveness. Sometimes we get so stuck in our pain and our stubbornness, we can’t even imagine forgiveness. But forgiveness isn’t saying, I agree with what you did. Instead, it’s saying, I don’t agree with what you did, but I forgive you anyway.

Forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness. Instead, it’s simply saying, I’m a good person. You’re a good person. You did something that hurt me. But I want to move forward in my life and welcome joy back into it. I can’t do that fully until I let this go.

Forgiveness is a way of tangibly letting something go. It’s also a way of empathising with the other person, and trying to see things from their point of view.

We do find it hard letting go of the past:

  • failures
  • attempts
  • unkind or hurtful words spoken by well-meaning people
  • defeats
  • disappointments.

God Is Preparing a New Thing

Actually the past can be one of our worst enemies when trying to make a fresh start. But instead of focusing on what was, let’s see what God’s Word has to say. The Bible says in Isaiah 43:18-19: “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 desert and streams in the wasteland.”

We can have a hope and trust in God which gives peace and purpose for today. As we read in that passage we need to forget the former things and not dwell on the past. God promised to rescue his chosen people from captivity, and bring them into a new land. Yes, that’s the historical perspective. But the miracle of God’s word is this: it’s still relevant today. He does not want you to be bogged down in the past. Some things have to be dropped.

Some of us take our past—and therefore stress—with us everywhere we go, towing it along behind us. Why do we do it? It’s familiar to us. It’s that warm and fuzzy bag of stories we like to take out and share with our family, friends, and co-workers. This comfortable past is often our ‘best friend’. It’s who and what we know best.

Yet no matter how painful our past may have been, for some strange reason we often choose not to let go. In order to get on with our future and simplify our lives, we must choose to make a clean break and leave the past behind.

There’s an engaging Peanuts cartoon where Lucy is apologising to Charlie Brown for missing a fly ball during a baseball game. She’s sorry she missed the fly ball and says it’s because she started remembering all the others she missed. “The past got in my eyes,” she says.

There is simply nothing to be gained by going back to past hurts and refusing to get over them. Move on and allow God to bring inner healing for your hurts. The future is brightest when we allow Jesus Christ into our lives. He will guide and help you today and every day.