Let Go of the Past – One of the greatest deterrents of progressing in the life God has for us is being anchored to the past. We must let go of the past to move forward. Unresolved issues such as past hurts, past wounds, past injustice, past bitterness, etc. anchor us to an endless past. You can’t change the past. It’s scrambled eggs. However, you must get free from the wrecks of the past if you want to be HEALED WITHOUT SCARS and go on to the wonderful places God has for you.
HEALED WITHOUT SCARS
By Pastor Delbert Young
Let Go of the Past
Let Go of the Past
Scriptures: Luke 4:18: Phillipians 3:13-15; Numbers 11:4-6; Numbers 14:4; Genesis 19:26; 1 Samuel 16:1; Jeremiah 31:34; Micah 7:19
This is the last lesson of our series HEALED WITHOUT SCARS. I trust it’s been insightful for you and helped you heal and freed you from scars and wounds of the past.
We have learned that too often, emotional and physiological wounds of our pasts remain alive and well in our “todays.” These cause us to hang DO NOT ENTER signs around our lives to keep anyone or anything out that would wound us again. We build walls. These walls do keep things and people out, but also become a prison for us. We lock ourselves away from experiencing the abundant life God has for us.
We also learned we put on masks when injured to cover our hurt, wound, and shame. We look in the mirror and ask, “WHO IS THAT MASKED MAN?” We become the a-lone ranger riding the trails of our lives with altered, distorted identity. Eventually, we take on the identity of the “masked” person and loose the identity God created us to have. The masked man is not who God created to bless. He created you!
We learned that life has a way of CULTIVATING WOUNDS. We become very efficient at lying, manipulation, selfishness, anger, dishonesty, etc. These always set us up for wounds and scars.
Last time we learned how FAITH AND WOUNDS link together. Jesus told two blind men,“according to your faith will it be done unto you.” We made that personal and said, “according to my faith will it be done unto me.” Life “is done” unto us according to our faith. Faith brings hope and hope does not disappoint. The great thing is no matter how wounded and scarred we are Jesus came to HEAL US WITHOUT SCARS.
Luke 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath ANOINTED ME to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to HEAL THE BROKENHEARTED, to preach DELIVERANCE TO THE CAPTIVES, and RECOVERING OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND, to SET AT LIBERTY THEM THAT ARE BRUISED
Only Jesus is anointed to actually heal our broken hearts from the past. Only Jesus can truly set us free from the prisons caused by the past. Only Jesus can open our eyes and show us those wounds/scars and the wonderful future he has for us. Only Jesus can liberate us from the bruising of the past.
So, today, I want to talk about LET GO OF THE PAST. If you are ever going to be HEALED WITHOUT SCARS, you must LET GO OF THE PAST.
Phillipians 3:13-15 No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am FOCUSING ALL MY ENERGIES on this one thing: FORGETTING THE PAST AND LOOKING FORWARD TO WHAT LIES AHEAD, I STRAIN to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven. I hope all of you who are mature Christians will agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you.
Mature believers realize the importance of letting go of the past. Even the great apostle Paul recognized how his past had the potential to stop his future. Note how he mentions focusing all my energies on this one thing. Paul said, “I STRAIN…” Even the apostle Paul had unresolved issues from his past that were attempting to stop his future. The solution is to focus all energy, do anything necessary, to LET THE PAST GO.
One of the greatest deterrents of progressing in the life God has for us is being anchored to the past. Unresolved issues such as past hurts, past wounds, past injustice, past bitterness, etc anchor us to an endless past.
I love to fish and on my vacations, I go offshore and fish wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico. I locate the wreck using a GPS device and drop anchor. I fish in 80 – 100 feet of water, which requires 150 – 225 feet of anchor rope. I fish until the fish stop cooperating, or it’s time to go in. It’s then time to pull anchor, which is never a really pleasurable experience. At best, it requires an enormous amount of energy to pull in 200 feet of rope and anchor. However, to go on, I must get free from that which anchors me at this place. Occasionally, usually at least once a vacation, the anchor hangs in the wreck and will not release. That’s a bad situation. I have a few tricks to get it loose. If those don’t work, my last option is to let out all the rope (about 300 feet), tie the rope to a tie off on the boat, and take off at open throttle in an attempt to break loose. I put all 150 horsepower to work. At that point, there are two things that will happen. (1) The anchor will release sometimes bent and deformed. (2) The anchor rope will break. But, you know what? By that time, I don’t care. I am so frustrated and so exhausted from fighting with that wreck, I just want free.
Life is that way. What wrecks in life anchor you? You were just “fishing” trying to enjoy life, but it turned into a bad situation that wounded you and now holds you. It might be a wound forced on you by others. It might have been the devil. It might have been something you brought on yourself. It’s time to stop blaming and finding fault. That’s what the devil wants you to do, but that’s not the issue now. You can’t change the past. It’s scrambled eggs. However, you must get free from the wrecks of the past if you want to be HEALED WITHOUT SCARS and go on to the wonderful places God has for you. It has long enough frustrated and drained your life’s energy. It’s time to put all your energy and resources to work and get free.
The enemy’s strategy is to keep you anchored to the wrecks of the past. Think about this! KEEPING YOU ANCHORED TO THE WRECKS OF YOUR PAST IS THE ONLY TRUE WEAPON HE CAN — USE TO BLOCK YOUR PROGRESS. If he can keep you concentrated on where you have been, he has successfully stopped your going to where you want to go.
The inability to release the past is a major problem in life. God delivered the Children of Israel from the bondage of Egypt in great victory, wealthy, and in great number. The vision for the future was The Promised Land – a land flowing with milk and honey. It was a great future. It should have been a short time of passing through the wilderness, but what happened?
Numbers 11:4-6 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? WE REMEMBER the fish, which we did eat in EGYPT freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.
They fed their souls on the past. It cost them their future.
Numbers 14:4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and GO BACK TO EGYPT.”
Egypt was bondage. They were slaves there. It was a negative past of which they would not let go. Do you know what it cost them? It cost them their future and it cost them their promise. They could have lived victoriously in the land of Canaan. Instead, they lived in tents. They died in the wilderness. Why? The past (Egypt) was alive and well in their hearts. They were anchored to Egypt.
What negative past is alive and well in your heart anchoring you and holding you from your promise and your future?
The Bible tells us the story of Lot and his family’s deliverance from Sodom. God told them to separate from that negative past and not look back. But, as they left Sodom, Lot’s wife looked back.
Genesis 19:26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
Lot’s wife could not separate herself from her past so she became permanently frozen with her eyes locked on that past. Her progress stopped and her memorial is one of exactly that – anchored.
What negative event in your past forces you to look back? It will keep you there eternally if you allow. God wants you to leave it and not look back. Don’t allow it to turn you into a pillar of salt.
Do you remember Saul, the first king of Israel? Samuel, the prophet, anointed Saul as king. However, Saul had difficulty obeying the commands of God. God rejected Saul as king. This grieved Samuel and for days Samuel mourned over Saul.
1 Samuel 16:1 The LORD said to Samuel, “HOW LONG WILL YOU MOURN for Saul, since I have rejected him as king over Israel?”
The Lord was saying, “How long do you intend to mourn over something you cannot change?” Samuel was wasting his time mourning about something totally out of his control. You can’t unscramble eggs. All you can do is dispose of the scrambled mess and start over. There are things in our pasts we cannot change. We do not have the power to change it. How long will we mourn about them? The past cannot be changed, but our actions today can alter our futures.
How do I LET GO OF THE PAST? We saw it requires energy and focus. There are several things that figure in, but the primary way is to (1) STOP ASKING THE “WHY” QUESTION. When life deals us a blow, injury, serious disappointment, negative situation, etc, we all ask, “WHY?” “Why did this happen?” “Why did he/she/it do this to me?” “Why did God allow this to happen?” “WHY?” “WHY?” “WHY?” Sometimes the hardest thing to give up is “WHY?”
It’s perfectly fine to ask “Why?” when the situation first happens. Sometimes there is an answer that will truly help us and heal us. Even Jesus on the cross during his most hurting moment asked, “My God, my God, WHY have you forsaken me.” It’s ok to ask when the situation happens, but if you are still asking why months and years later, you could die in the wilderness never experiencing your promised land with your children. You could turn into a pillar of eternal salt as the remainder of your family goes on.
Asking “Why?” is actually not the problem. The problem is “why” turns into questioning God’s purpose. Most likely, you will never understand “Why?” even if God himself told you. Looking for answers to unanswerable situations, or answers we cannot comprehend, only adds more frustration/infection/scars to the already negative situation. Yet, people spend lifetimes in these miserable emotional traps. About what are you asking, “WHY?” Stop asking the “WHY” question.
Another necessary thing we must do to LET GO OF THE PAST is to (2) CHOOSE NOT TO REHEARSE THE PAST. Let me explain the Biblical principle of “forgetting it” or, as the Bible says, “remember… no more.”
Jeremiah 31:34 …”For I will forgive their wickedness and will REMEMBER their sins NO MORE.”
Micah 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
If you have been around church much, you have heard these verses referenced, right? Yet, we all know God is all-knowing – omniscience. If God is all-knowing, then it’s impossible for him to experience memory loss. Instead, God chooses to REMEMBER our sin NO MORE. He chooses to not bring them up. He chooses to look and talk about where we are and where we are going. He says he will leave the past at the depths of the sea.
“The path to deliverance from the negative elements of the past is in our God-given ability to choose. We can decide not to rehearse things that were hurtful in the past. We have a tendency to continually go over wounding situations for no other reason than to discuss them again. Often we look for someone to help us feel better about a situation that is impossible to feel better about. The cyclical rehashing of unresolved situations hinders the healing process.”
This is not spiritual denial. There is a difference in denial and letting go of the past. Denial is denying it happened and/or denying it had horrible effects on you and others. Denial is never dealing with it. It will continue to hurt and eternally anchor. Nothing is accomplished. Letting go of the past is identifying and confronting the negative experience as a wound or scar, forgiving, confessing, repenting, accepting, etc, and then moving on to all God has for you. We choose not to allow it to consume and anchor us to the past.
Maybe it seems you are in an endless wander. Life seems like a wilderness as it was with the children of Israel who allowed the bad experience of the past to continue to enslave them. Could that be why you are not moving on? Don’t die in your wilderness. Don’t allow the wounds and scars from the past to turn you into a pillar of salt. God is trying to deliver you, but you must focus your energy and strain to let go of the past. He sent his angels to bring you out. Let it go and don’t look back. How long will you mourn about things you do not have power to change. Could this be why your life is stuck? Stop asking the “Why” question. You are really questioning God’s purpose. Remember the past no more. Choose to not rehearse it. Let it go to the bottom of the sea. Could the reason for your not achieving what you want from life and what God wants you to have in life be because you are anchored to a wreck? If you want to be free then let’s pray together. Only Jesus is anointed to HEAL US WITHOUT SCARS.
Other Related Sermons:
David G. Evans, Healed Without Scars, p. 244, 245