2015 – Moving Forward

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Happy 2015! This year holds infinite possibility and opportunity for all of us. To get what we want in this new year, we need to leave the past behind us and move forward with hope and faith in the great things that our Father in Heaven has prepared for us.

But there’s the rub. How do we leave the past behind us? We’ve heard many people talk about it, and we all know we should do it. But how. Is it really that easy to just decide and let go of all the hurt, the pain, the mistakes, the embarrassment, the patterns of behavior, and the beliefs so long embedded within us? Well, despite what a myriad of motivational speakers may promise, it’s not.

But even though it’s not as simple as folding our arms and nodding our heads like I Dream of Jeannie, you CAN let go of the past and move forward. And what is the best and most effective way of doing this? Forgiveness. Forgiving others, forgiving ourselves, and even Forgiving God, is some cases. But again, it’s easier said than done.

And why? Why is true and permanent forgiveness so difficult much of the time? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but what I’ve found for myself and seen in many others is that forgiving is difficult because it leaves us vulnerable — or at least we believe that it does. Many of us after being hurt, get angry and refuse to forgive as a protection mechanism. We feel that if we forgive, we’ll open ourselves up to the same hurt, the same offense, the same betrayal, the same results. And nobody wants that.

But it doesn’t need to be that way. In fact, the way we view forgiveness in society and even in the Church is, quite frankly, messed up. Forgiveness does not mean allowing others to hurt us. It does not turn us into doormats. Nowhere in the scriptures are we commanded to be weak and abused. No, instead, forgiveness is about letting go of hurt, anger, and other negative feelings toward the offender — even when that offender is us. Holding on to the negativity only hurts us. It’s like a poison that eats away at us from the inside out. It literally cankers our souls. So, forgiveness is much more for us than for others.

What we need to realize is that we can both let go of the negative feelings toward others and past situations and also protect ourselves against similar hurt in the future. We can truly move past the past and embrace the possibilities of the future without worrying about repeating past behavior or falling into similar traps. That isn’t to say that we need to be hyper-vigilant. Focusing so much on avoiding what happened before will only lead us into the same situation. Instead, we need to feel our own power, trusting our judgment, trusting the Lord’s Plan for us, and taking steps forward in faith.

So move forward in 2015 by first letting go of all the things from your past that you don’t want in your life anymore. And the first step in letting go is to forgive. Forgive others you have offended you, but learn the lessons those experiences taught you. Forgive yourself if you are holding on to anger and resentment about poor choices or poor judgment or lies about your perceived deficiencies, because you’re always free to make new choices. And forgive God if you might be resenting His perceived lack of help or support. He has you in the palm of His hand and will give you what you seek if you do so in trust and faith.

I wish you the happiest of New Years!


 

By Christopher Esseltine

 

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