Pella Chronicle

January 10, 2014

Getting past the past!

By Rick Cowman
The Chronicle

Pella — As we face the new year ahead of us, we would do well to consider the example of the Apostle Paul in the New Testament.  We read his words in Philippians chapter 3:  “One thing I do; forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (vs 13-14, NASB)!”

Here’s the point.  If we want to move forward in our personal walk with God and as the Church of Jesus Christ, then there’s one thing we must do:  we must get past the past!  One way we can get past the past is to RESTORE BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS.  Relationships are a priority with God.  In Matthew chapter 5 (vs 23-24), Jesus gives us some strong advise in dealing with others.  In fact, He tells us we are wasting our time praying to our heavenly Father for His blessing in our lives if we have unresolved issues with another person!  His words are simple:  If you’re going to approach God’s presence in prayer, “first be reconciled to your brother!”

Listen, if we want to continue in a growing, vital relationship with God, then we dare not blow off people problems!  Instead, we must deal with them as soon as they are known to us.  I know from experience, the longer we wait to deal with a problem, the more difficult it is to face it and get past it! Marriages don’t fail because of irreconcilable differences.  They fail because over time walls were built in the relationship, instead of facing issues Biblically when they first surfaced.  Very few churches go through splits because of differing viewpoints on the Scriptures, but because the members failed to operate in line with the Scriptures!  The leadership of a church must follow Biblical standards in dealing with problems, and quenching the sparks before a forest fire breaks out!  It’s important for us to understand that it’s not problems that cause division, but how we deal with the problems (or don’t deal with them)!  There’s not a single issue in our personal lives, or in the life of the church, which cannot be resolved if it is dealt with from the pattern God has laid down in His Word.

So, how are we to deal with difficult people?  (Oh, does anyone come to mind?)  Galatians, chapter 6, gives us some direction as it says we are to “restore them in a spirit of gentleness.”  Romans, chapter 12, commands us to “bless those who curse you...overcome their evil with good…(and) do your best to live in peace with everyone.”  In Matthew 5, we read, “love your enemies…pray for those who persecute you!”  Now, I don’t know about you, but that’s not my natural response;  but it’s the Biblical response!  God told Job to pray for the ones who had mistreated him and falsely accused him, and do you know what happened?  The Scriptures tell us, “the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord increased all that Job had twofold…”

The point is this:  Obedience gets results!  Praying God’s good for those who oppose us may be difficult (OK, it’s always difficult), but it will always get God’s results in the long run.  Why?  Because when we pray according to God’s will, we get God’s best!  Our heavenly Father simply wants us to obey Him and then watch how He works through our obedience, both in our own lives and in the lives of others!  Remember, God’s ways are not our ways.

God puts a premium on relationships, and He specializes in repairing them! So, how about it?  Let’s get the past behind us and press on toward God’s call in our lives in 2014!  Next week we’ll continue on this subject of getting past the past as we talk about forgiving and forgetting!