You have to move out of the past and into the present before you can move into the future with confidence and hope. You might be feeling the hurts and pain of past holiday seasons. Let go of it and live today. You may regret a lot of things that you did during the past 12 months. Let go of it and make the most of today.
Jesus let go. He let go of worn out traditions, sick and abusive religion and legalistic judgmental teachings. Jesus created something new every day of his life. Jesus did not try to fix sick oppressive religion. He replaced it. You probably need to do the same thing in your life.
Trying to repair the past is always a lost cause. You cannot live in the past, because none of us really remembers everything that has happened in out past. My sister and I laugh about having separate childhoods, though we were brought up together in the same home. One of us will remember every detail of a special event and the other will not recall it at all. Our memories are always selective.
Forgiveness Means Letting Go
Forgiving ourselves is the hardest forgiveness to give. We want to examine every detail and worry with every tiny facet of our past mistakes and goof-ups. We become more self-centered in clinging to what we have done wrong than in bragging about what good we accomplished. “It was all my fault” certainly puts you in the spotlight and gets a lot of attention, doesn’t it? Nothing is ever “all your fault.” There is plenty of blame to go around for everybody.
As Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender people, we are constantly tempted to blame ourselves for everything that goes wrong in our world. We often have been singled-out by family, friends, society, and especially religion as the first ones to blame when life falls apart or disaster strikes. You remember how Rev. Pat Robertson predicted that Orlando, Florida, could expect a powerful hurricane to hit the city because of Orlando’s celebration of Gay Pride week. No hurricane hit Orlando, but one did hit Virginia Beach, Virginia, where Rev. Robertson’s ministry has its headquarters!
Not letting go of the hurt and misery of the past is as self-centered as it is self-destructive. Make a list of all of the bad things that happened to you this past year, give the list to God, wad it up and burn it. Let go of the past.
Let Go and Move On
Paul told in Philippians 3 how he had to let go of abusive legalism in order to follow Jesus. Paul said in Philippians 3:13-14, “Forgetting the past and looking to the future, I press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Read all of Philippians 3 to see that what Paul was forgetting and letting go was not “sins of the flesh” or ungodly living but was legalistic judgmental religion! Paul called his former destructive religion “garbage” (3:8: a strong word that means “dung” KJV!).
Many of you who have written to me have told me how you had to give up religion completely in order to start over in rebuilding your own personal spiritual life. You had to let go of unhealthy religion in order to find the real Jesus and to develop a realistic and workable faith.
A gay Southern Baptist minister recently told me that he did not believe in God anymore. Well, neither do I, if God is the legalistic judgmental homophobic monster that has taken over the minds of many Southern Baptists today!
The Bible is filled with the experiences of people who had to let go of the past and traditional religion in order to find and follow the will of God. Abraham let go and moved on. Moses let go and moved on. Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to let go of fear and traditional cultural and religious prejudice in order to listen to the messenger of God and submit to the Holy Spirit. Just think! The mother of the Messiah was an unmarried, homeless, pregnant teenager. That has gotten the attention of the world ever since it happened. When God does something special in a human life, it usually means a radical break with the past. Let go, and start over.
The author of Invitation To Freedom and Steps to Recovery from Bible Abuse, Rev. Rembert S. Truluck served in Metropolitan Community Churches in Atlanta, San Francisco and Nashville from 1988 to 1996. He earned a doctorate in sacred theology from Furman University, serving from 1953 to 1973 as a Southern Baptist preacher. He resigned as a professor at Baptist College at Charleston (now Charleston Southern University) and became an MCC pastor after being outed to the college’s board of trustees.