(Note: This lesson is not original with me and I do not know who shared it with me. It is so good I had to include it. - gk) INTRODUCTION:
"The Civil War left a tragic aftermath of bitterness, hatred, and resentment in America. The wounds
inflicted by the war were deep and painful. Though the guns fell silent, the angry recriminations went
on. Many could not forget or forgive what had been done. Exchanges between former enemies rarely rose
above the level of angry accusations and scornful denunciations. One man who refused to participate in
or condone this terrible harvest of bitterness was General Robert E. Lee. In word and deed, Lee urged
reconciliation between the North and South. He knew that the war was over and that the future of the
nation demanded a new attitude for a new day. To the day of his death, the "Gray Knight" was never heard
to speak an unkind word about those who had formerly been his enemies. Lee even opposed the erection of
Confederate monuments because he thought they would only serve to keep wartime passions alive.
On one occasion a lady in Lexington, Virginia showed him the scarred remains of a tree in her yard. During
a raid all the limbs had been shot off by Federal artillery. Thinking the General would share her sense
of outrage, she waited expectantly for him to comment. Finally, Lee spoke, "Cut it down, my dear Madam,
and forget it." In many ways that is good advice for us."
We are often guilty of living in the past as a body or as individuals.
In this lesson, let's learn to cut down and forget some things.
PAST SLIGHTS, HURTS AND WRONGS.
Jesus taught that His forgiveness is conditioned on ours.
Matt. 18:35; 6:12 - "This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive
your brother from your heart." MATTHEW 18:35 (NIV) Forgive us our debts, as we also have
forgiven our debtors. MATTHEW 6:12 (NIV)
Brooding does us no good at all.
PAST LOSSES, DEFEATS AND FAILURES.
Regrets can "chain" us to the past.
"If only things had been different..."
Phil. 3:13; 4:6 - "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do:
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, PHILIPPIANS 3:13 (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present
your requests to God. PHILIPPIANS 4:6 (NIV)
PAST SORROWS, GRIEFS AND HEARTACHES.
Ps. 51:8 - David prayed that the bones that had been broken might rejoice again. Let me hear joy and
gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Psalm 51:8 (NIV)
Eccl. 3:4 - there is a time to weep.
We can never let these things get the best of us.
PAST MISTAKES AND SINS.
I Tim. 1:15 - Jesus came into the world to save sinners.
Ps. 51:2 - God is willing to wash us thoroughly. "Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my
sin." Psalm 51:2 (NIV)
Romans 6:17-18 - we can be free by obeying the form... (17) "But thanks be to God that, though you used to be
slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. (18) You have been
set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness."
Phil. 3:13-14 - Paul knew the value of "cutting down" some things in his past.
(13) "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is
behind and straining toward what is ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has
called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
Whatever stands between you and God or between you and your brother, "cut it down and forget it."