Philippians 3:13 NET
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead, I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead.
In order to experience the “hope-filled future” today, we need to forget the things that are behind. We need to let go of the past in order to embrace what God has for us, today. Focusing on past failures or successes will hold you captive and prevent you from moving forward. Yes, you should celebrate the successes you have but you should also move on because there are greater things that you can accomplish.
The failure or tragedy of yesterday may have been horrific – mourn it, but move on. If you’re just going to camp there and focus on how bad it was you’ll become miserable, ineffective and unfruitful. The writer of Hebrews chapter 12 encourages us to let go of the weights that are holding us back from running this race that God has called us to. We’ve got to let go of past hurts that could be holding us back and we’ve got to let go of successes that we’re holding onto because they are also holding us back. We need to be celebrating what God’s doing today, not what he did years ago. Yes, what He has done was great, but let’s seek God today. We don’t want to live off of the manna of yesterday; God’s desire for us is fresh manna! Think about Lot and his family. They were living in a very ungodly city: Sodom and Gomorrah. They probably didn’t even realize how bad the environment had corrupted them. You can read about it in Genesis chapter 19. God decided to destroy the city but sends angels to rescue Lot and his family. Lot and his family receive an angelic rescue mission which you think they’d be happy about, but they’re not. Mrs Lotz had a really tough time letting go of her home and everything that they had in this sinful city. God wanted to destroy her home and she was struggling with this. She didn’t trust in the goodness of God – that God would take her to a better place. You may believe that what you have is good right now, and you may be fearful to move on into something new. You don’t see things the way that God sees them. You don’t know what God has for you in the next season that He is trying to move you into. If God is calling you into a new season, go! Never be so comfortable in your current season that you don’t want to let go of the good to embrace the good next season. Good is the enemy of great. What God’s got for you in your next season is great, and so you need to let go of today’s good to embrace tomorrow’s great.
Unforgiveness towards others prevents us from moving forward in what God has for us. It’s not that God holds your unforgiveness against you – not at all! The problem with you harbouring unforgiveness is that it gets your attention on you. You get self-focused and self-absorbed; focusing on your hurts and injustice. You cannot be consumed with Jesus and yourself. If we’re consumed with Jesus we will have a natural overflow of love and forgiveness towards others.
Hebrews 10:17 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
He then goes on to say, And their sins and their lawbreaking I will remember no more.
God doesn’t remember our sin. That’s wonderful! when we remember our sin or someone else’s, all it means is that we’re not being like God. If you want to be like God, stop remembering the things that you’ve done. Stop remembering the things that others have done wrong, especially done wrong towards you. When you harbour unforgiveness it doesn’t really punish the other person, it’s punishing you. You may have been completely right and they may have been completely wrong, but most times when we won’t forgive someone, it’s affecting us and they don’t even know about it. It’s not affecting them at all. It’s affecting us. Unforgiveness is a tool of the enemy to hold you captive, destroy your life and prevent you from walking in your destiny.
Unforgiveness is basically just a form of hatred. It will stop you from walking in your destiny. It’s keeping you captive and preventing you from experiencing the blessing of God. Hear me; God isn’t punishing you for your unforgiveness. You are punishing yourself and you’re preventing yourself from walking in His blessing. We’ve got to realize that when we harbour bitterness and unforgiveness, it causes us to live in torment. It causes us to live in sickness and suffering because we’re rejecting the blessing of God. Forgiveness is love. Forgiveness is a choice. When we realize how much God loves us and how much He’s forgiven us, and when we receive and experience that love and forgiveness for ourselves, it enables us to overflow with love towards other people and to reach out to them with forgiveness and kindness and compassion.
You can’t give love and forgiveness if you haven’t received love and forgiveness from the Father. If you realize that you’re in a place of holding onto yesterday (successes or tragedies or failures), I want to encourage you to prayerfully let go of those successes and failures. If you realize that you have unforgiveness towards someone then I encourage you to prayerfully, right now, forgive and just let it go! Don’t hold onto things that don’t have any value. There’s no value in unforgiveness. It’s only de-valuing your life and destroying your destiny.