There are believers today who are holding unforgiveness in their hearts, and some don't even realize it! They can't get over certain situations in their past, and because of that, they can't move forward in life.
In Philippians 3:13–14 (NKJV), the Apostle Paul said, "One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
"Forgetting those things which are behind . . ." How many of us would say, "Easier said than done!" But we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us! We can get over that situation and get over ourselves.
I understand that things have happened to some of us that really aren't good. Others of us may have done something in our past we wish we hadn't done. But we can't change those things. I'm not saying what was done to us was right, or that what we did was right, but for our own sanity, we've got to move forward. And we can never move forward looking back.
I believe that's why Paul was so big on forgetting those things which are behind. There were things in his past he probably wished he'd never done. But if he had continued to think about those things, he would never have accomplished all that he did.
Many of us are familiar with Mark 11:24: "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." But did you ever notice what verse 25 says? "And when ye stand praying (that's the same praying you were doing in verse 24), FORGIVE, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."
The word ought in this verse is not one we use a lot. It means to have unforgiveness toward someone.
In the Christian world today, most people you talk to say, "I've gotten over that. I've forgiven that person." Well, if that's true, why does your blood pressure rise when you're in the room with that person? Why do things feel awkward and uncomfortable? It's because you're holding ought, and you ought not to do it!
We need to check up on ourselves. If we don't, unforgiveness will keep dwelling and growing on the inside.
And pretty soon, we'll have stage-four unforgiveness eating us up.
My grandfather Kenneth E. Hagin always talked about how he would check up on himself when it seemed as if things weren't going right in his life. He'd ask, "Do I have unforgiveness in my heart toward someone? Is there something that is holding me back?"
You see, forgiving others needs to become a habit. In my own life, there have been times when people did some things to me that weren't very nice. And I could have had reason to hold unforgiveness against them. When things like that happen, I try to put myself in the other person's situation: "Maybe they did this because this happened or that happened." Whatever it may be, I've decided that I'm not going to let those things bother me.
Actually, one of my favorite things to do when someone is mad and unforgiving toward me is to pour out love toward
them. I do not want to be bound by unforgiveness!
How to Let Go
I've found that the only way we can truly let go of something is to hang on to Someone else. God is the only One Who can help us obliterate our past. When we need to let go, we have to hang on to Him—His Word, His ability, His strength, and His power.
What you're looking at today might not be the best situation in the world. But God doesn't just see today; He sees tomorrow. And when you start to hang on to Him, you can think about tomorrow too!
"Yeah, but things haven't changed," someone may say. That's where faith kicks in. That's where you have to believe things you can't see and let go of what you're holding on to.
"Well, I don't know how we can restore this situation." It's not about what you can do! The Bible says that God's love has been shed abroad in our hearts (Rom. 5:5). It's about His mercy, forgiveness, and love working in us.
You Have a Future!
I know that letting go is not always easy, and it's uncomfortable. But in order to move forward, we've got to be willing to let go of the wrong things. Think about a trapeze artist at a circus. When he lets go of the bar, he has to focus on what's next. But he'll never have "what's next" if he never lets go.
God has a future for you—a plan! Don't hold yourself back by holding on to unforgiveness. Instead, do as it says in
Hebrews 12:2—"Look unto Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of your faith." Put Philippians 3:14 into practice and "press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (NKJV).
Your Savior didn't come so that you could remember all the bad things that have happened to you all the days of your life!
Jesus said He came that you might have life and have it more abundantly (John 10:10).
You've got to let go, and let God. He's able, He's willing, and He has something better for you. Your best is yet to come!