Dealing With the Past and Moving Forward

First, please read the scripture as you go through this lesson to associate God’s Word with what is being said.
. Words, memories, and past actions live on and operate again if allowed. They must be dealt with God’s way or it is like building a brick wall. The words and actions and memories get one stacked on another making the dividing wall higher, wider, thicker, and stronger. It becomes an immovable stronghold with repeated hurts, disappointments, bitterness, anger, wrath, strife, and contention. It is “your way” against “my way” and the fight is on. With Jesus as our Lord, there is a better way of life.
. To deal with this, first we must make a solid decision: “I am going to do it God’s way, and not my own.” Say it out loud and mean it. Between two people there needs to be an agreement: “Not my will, not your will, but God’s will be done.” Then pray, “Lord, let the gifts of the Spirit operate and bring deliverance.”

The Condition
. James 4:1, 2, talks about fights, and the source of fighting. Then it goes on through verse 12 and gives steps to live in peace instead of war. We are to humble ourselves before God, resist the devil, be sorry for our sins, and not speak and hash over the evil of one another. When we humble ourselves in the sight of God, he will lift us up out of that walled trap that was being built, as we deal decisively with the issue (vss.6-11; 1 Peter 5:6-10).
. But what do you do after evil angry words have been spoken? When angry threats and accusations based on hurt, disappointment, disillusionment, being deceived and cheated have been spoken, those words and actions live on and need to be dealt with. It all might be based on fact, but it is still hashing over the evil. Memories and repeat offences keep it hashed over daily. How do we decisively deal with this?

The Solution
. Renunciation. 2 Corinthians 4:1, 2; Proverbs 18:21. Words that have been spoken have been released, but in our heart before God we can recant and resist their operation. This is a first step in stopping their repeated offensive operation. To renounce means to disown those words. When we, and the recipient of those words, agree in “saying off” those evil, angry words, we are set together against their operation. Saying “I renounce” what I said, and “I am sorry”, is a step in the right direction. We can renounce words that we speak. We can renounce the words that were spoken to us instead of hashing over them. Hashing over them gives the speaker power over our life (Psalms 55:3). The evil angry words were spoken out loud, so the words of renunciation and recanting and being sorry for what was said (and done) needs to be spoken out loud. Thank God out loud for the blood of Jesus cleansing from all sin (1 John 1:7-9). Deal with it quickly as it begins to unfold, not allowing it to grow into a fight! (Ephesians 4:26,27)
. Confession. James 5:16. As soon as a hurtful action occurs, as soon as angry words begin to flare, we are to stop ourselves quickly and quickly confess our faults and errors and pray for one another. This takes the brick back out of the wall. The worst thing we can do is stew on it for days. That brick is set. Quickly renounce, recant, and confess fault. We take our stand in the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:14,24; 10:22,23).
. Casting down thoughts, feelings, and memories. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. Do it quickly. Don’t meditate on the evil. Believers have the power to bind and loose things (Matthew 16:19). By faith, with the words of our mouth spoken out loud, we can bind up the words, memories, and feelings to stop their operation. We “loose” or “clear the way” for God’s operation of healing and restoration, getting things back together in harmony in our lives, and in the lives of others. In this way we take steps to bring every thought into the obedience of Jesus Christ.
. Praying for one another. Philippians 4:6-9 tells us that in everything we are to pray and make our requests known to God. It says if we will keep our minds on good things instead of evil, the peace of God will reign. We are to quickly engage in prayer and put the matter into God’s hands instead of hashing it over in our minds.
. Maintain the solid decision that I am going to do things God’s way and not my own, and that I am going to take the necessary steps of action to stay in God’s way of life. Proverbs 3:6; Psalms 37:4, 5. As we “acknowledge” God is all we do and say, and as we “delight” in doing it God’s way, he gives us the desires of our heart. We make the decisions. We take the above steps. We change our attitudes to be in God’s way of love, truth, and faith. We take personal responsibility to change what needs to be changed and to do what he would have us to do. Jesus, through the Spirit, promises to help us be strong through that Holy Spirit working in every part of our lives as we acknowledge and delight in him (Romans 8:13). We are the ones to allow his strength to operate, or to disallow his strength from operating.

. Continuing in this way can keep walls from being built. It can also tear walls down that have been built. A separating wall of years standing can be torn down by doing it God’s way. With the wall down, we can go into the good land of peace and liberty and fulfilled desires in the love, faith, and power of God. We can leave the land of war and conflict and dwell in tranquility, and get on with what God has called us to do.
. In the Old Testament God gave the promised land to the Israelites. It was given to them, yet they had to fight for it city-by-city. God was with them in the fight to guide them in specific steps on how to take each city. (Joshua, chapters 1-11) That is a good picture of how we can deal with the past and move forward. Under God’s specific direction, we can take a life of peace and harmony city-by-city until we rest from war in the land (Joshua 11:23).

Jackie Calhoun, Lighthouse Church Benton April 27, 2021