The biggest problem we have in our life is people problem. That is a problem of getting along with people like: our spouses, parents, children, brothers, sisters, friends, relatives and our co-workers.
It does not matter how wealthy you are, how famous you are, how many things you have in life, if your relationship are bad, life is miserable. Your happiness is largely determined by your ability to get along with other people.
The Bible is the greatest book on relationships. The Bible talks about building a relationship to each other. One of the greatest causes of why people have bad relationships is they don’t let go of the past. Holding on the past.
Philippians 3:12-14 New Living Translation (NLT)
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, [a] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
Paul is pointing out a truth. He says, I let go of the past or distraction toward the future. Paul is making a point that we need to learn in relationships – that we cannot relate to the present if we are still reacting to the past.
Without letting go of the past, we will carry emotional garbage in our current relationships. We all carry emotional garbage of three types:
1.We rehearse our resentments. We go over and over our bitterness against the people we are angry.
2.We remember our regrets, the things we’ve felt guilty about.
3.We reinforce our remorse.
When you do those three things, and you carry that emotional garbage of rehearsing resentments, remembering regrets, reinforcing remorse, it tends us to react to relationship, rather that enjoying them.
Paul says, in verse 13, “… Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” It simply means, forget the former “emotional garbage” and focus on the future.
How can we do that? By doing three things: first is “I must give up my grudges” and second, “I must give up my grief “which were discussed in Part – I and Part II of this article.
Finally, there’s a third part of our past that we have to let go. If you don’t let go of this it will ruin your present relationships. Grudges, grief, and the third part is guilt.
III.I Must Give Up My Guilt.
Some people refuse to accept forgiveness from God. They hang on to their guilt. They hold on to it. A letter from a woman received by a pastor of the Moody Bible Church, it says:
I’m 31 years old and divorced. Though I fought the divorce bitterly I feel bad because it went ahead anyway, and now, I feel badly, that I have no hope for the future. When I go home from church and cry but there’s no one to hold me when I cry. No one cares. I’ve begged God for the grace to remain single for His glory and fix my eyes on Jesus, but nothing changes. I continue to fail. I am emotionally distress or on the verge of a collapse. I fell as if I will have to live the rest of my life in misery.
That describes so many people that came to my office seeking advice particularly those in financial distress. Many of them will say, “Because I made a dumb mistake, I have no more hope in the future. The rest of my life is wasted.” If that is the way you feel, you are wrong! If I believed that, I would not be writing this article.
More than two decades ago, I went financially broke when my mortgage brokering business collapsed due to recession, together with bad decisions in late 1980’s,I thought it’s better to die than to live. With God’s grace He gave me hope.
There is hope. That is the message of the good news, that we have a forgiving, gracious God. But you’ve got to give up your guilt.
How do you let go of guilt? There are two approaches to guilt. One is right and one is wrong. An example is the two of Jesus’ disciples – Peter and Judas. Both Peter and Judas, on the night before Jesus was arrested, both denied Jesus. They both sinned.
But they responded very, very differently to their guilt. One response was right and one response was wrong. You will choose one of these responses to the guilt you have in life.
Judas responded the wrong way, which is Self Condemnation.
Matthew 27:3-5 New Living Translation (NLT)
3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.” “What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”
5 Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.
Judas committed suicide. That’s the ultimate expression of self-condemnation. Judas thought, he made the biggest mistake of his life. He made the greatest sin! And therefore, to him his life was worthless and is condemned.
There are many, many ways, to live in condemnation, without committing suicide. Peter on the other hand, his response was not condemnation but Confession.
Matthew 26:75 New Living Translation (NLT)
“Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.”
Peter had the same remorse Judas did, but Peter confessed his sin. How do I know that Peter confessed and repented his sin?
I know because, Peter, the same man who denied Jesus Christ at the crucifixion was the same man that God chose, on the day of the Pentecost to speak, and 3,000 people were saved.
That’s the God of second chance. That’s the good news. You confess it to God.
What do you do with your guilt? You confess it to God. You say, “God you’re right, I was wrong, I’m sorry and please forgive me.”
1 John 1:9 New Living Translation (NLT)
“But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
Which one of these three bags of emotional garbage are you still carrying around in your relationships today? Grudges? Give up your grudges. Grief? Accept what cannot be changed, and look what is left, not what is lost. Guilt? Give up your guilt.
Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross so you can quit nailing yourself to a cross. The Bible says –
2 Corinthians 5:17 New King James Version (NKJV)
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
It means, the moment you commit your life to Christ, in your heart and express it outwardly through water baptism, that is your 2nd birth – Spiritual Birth, commonly called, “Born Again.” You become a new person inside.
You do not have to live the rest of your life in misery. Let go of your past: your grudges, Grief, and guilt.
On the next issue – “If I have Faith Why I Doubt? Part -I”
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(Adam Aspilla is an Executive Director of Word Became Flesh Ministries a non-denominational Christian organization at 1180 Unit 1 Mid-way Blvd. Mississauga. Visit www.wbfmfamily.com. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) from University of the East, Manila Philippines, studied law in the same university, and has a Master of Divinity (MDiv.) from Tyndale University & Seminary, in Toronto, Canada. He also operates the Debt Clinic of Canada Inc., and author of the books: “You Can Negotiate All Your Debts” and “51 Frequently Asked Bible Questions.” He also writes a column on “Personal Finance” in this paper. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org : phone: 905-306-7572)