Let Go of the Past
We live in a society that loves to make excuses, and one of our favorite phrases is:“It’s not my fault.”
- “Thế, I’m a negative person because I was raised in an unhealthy family environment,” one man told me.
- “My husband walked out on me. I’ve been rejected. That’s why I’m always so depressed,” said a woman in her early forties.
- “I’ve lost my wife, and I just don’t understand it. That’s why I’m so angry,” said another young man.
No, the truth is, if we are bitter and resentful, it’s because we are allowing ourselves to remain that way. We’ve all had negative things happen to us. If you look hard enough, you can easily find reasons to have a chip on your shoulder. Anyone can make excuses and blame the past for his or her bad attitudes, poor choices, or hot temper.
You may have valid reasons for feeling the way you do. You may have gone through things that nobody deserves to experience in life. Perhaps you were physically, verbally, sexually, or emotionally abused. Maybe you’ve struggled to deal with a chronic illness or some other irreparable physical problem. Perhaps somebody took advantage of you in business and you lost your shirt, as well as your self-esteem. I don’t mean to minimize those sad experiences, but if you want to live in victory, you cannot use the past emotional wounds as an excuse for making poor choices today. You dare not use your past as an excuse for your current bad attitude, or as a rationalization for your unwillingness to forgive somebody.
It’s time to allow emotional wounds to heal, to let go of your excuses and stop feeling sorry for yourself. It’s time to get rid of your victim mentality.
Nobody—not even God—ever promised that life would be fair. Quit comparing your life to somebody else’s, and quit dwelling on what could have been, should have been, or might have been. Quit asking questions such as, “why this?” or “why that?” or “why me?”
Instead, take what God has given you and make the most of it. You may have suffered much, endured great hardships, or been through a lot of negative things. You may have deep scars from emotional wounds, but don’t let your past determine your future. You can’t do anything about what’s happened to you, but you can choose how you will face what’s in front of you. Don’t hold on to feelings of bitterness and resentment and let them poison your future. Let go of those hurts and pains. Forgive the people who did you wrong. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made. You may even need to forgive God. Perhaps you’ve been blaming Him for taking one of your loved ones. Maybe you are angry at God because He didn’t answer your prayers, or some situation didn’t work out the way you had hoped. Regardless, you will never be truly happy as long as you harbor bitterness in your heart. You will wallow in self-pity, always feeling sorry for yourself, thinking that life hasn’t dealt you a fair hand. You must let go of those negative attitudes and the accompanying anger. Change the channel and start focusing on the goodness of God.
We all know how to use the remote control to change the channels on the TV. If we see something we don’t like, no big deal—we just flip channels. We need to learn how to mentally change channels when negative images of the past pop up in our minds unexpectedly. Unfortunately, when some people see those negative experiences on their mind’s “screens,” instead of quickly changing channels, they pull up a chair and get some popcorn, as though they’re going to watch a good movie. They willingly allow themselves to relive all those hurts and pains. Then they wonder why they are depressed, upset, or discouraged. Learn to change the channels. Don’t let your mind or your emotions drag you down into despair. Instead, dwell on the good things God has done in your life.
If you’ve had something painful happen to you, don’t let that experience be the focal point of your life. Stop talking about it; stop brings it up to your friends. You must get beyond it. Unless you let go of the old, God will not bring the new. It is natural to feel sorrow and to grieve, but you shouldn’t still be grieving five or ten years later. If you really want to be whole, if you really want to get well, you need to move on with your life.