Grace Emerges

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Let It Go

by Brad Duncan

I was considering the phrase "let it go".  It seems like such wisdom, compared to the alternative which is to hold on to something with a white-knuckled grip.  What does it mean for a Christian to "let it go"?  Well, it resonates with some important Biblical teachings:

Let It Go:

  • Following Jesus: Jesus presented the kingdom, and the call for disciples to follow him.  Anything else of the old life of the disciple had to be left behind in order to truly follow.  There were cases where Jesus asked someone to let go of riches, family, and home to come and be a follower.  More often he called people to leave behind their old religious system, in order to embrace the new message of redemption.  "You can't put new wine in old wine skins," he said.  He may ask us to let go of what we're holding on to so firmly, so that we can do what we are truly called to do.  It is impossible to cling, and to move forward.
  • Forgiveness:  When it comes to dealing with other, sinful, humans in a loving way, we frequently have to "let it go."  Let go of offense.  Let go of their mistakes (and ours).  Let go of disagreement.  Let go of fear of differences.  Let go of the opportunity to control the other person's behavior.  Let go of anger.  We are called to do this because we submit to a higher authority, who is ultimately responsible for forging the spiritual character of each of us in truth and righteousness.  If we can let go of taking the role of judge, and instead adopt the role of forgiver, then we can love unconditionally.  In relationships, we can take the emotionally and spiritually healthy, pragmatic, road that leads to both sides winning, if we can let go of our own need to control the outcome and anger toward the other person.  That is called forgiveness.
  • Humility: We must "let it go" when it comes to securing power, influence, respect, or even fame for ourselves.  We are called to take the less important seat, to take the servant's job, and to consider sacrificial love as the highest calling.  We must let go of pride to discover humility.  Consider the mantra to "love your enemies."  That means the ultimate in giving up our stance that makes us that person's enemy.  We back down.  We lower our chin held so high, and we try to find common ground with the other person, maybe even honoring them above ourselves.  In a word: loving them.  The benefits to our own heart and character are immense as we learn the way of humility and let go of being more right, more socially acceptable, more powerful, and of being more righteous, than the other guy.  Honor others instead.  It is the way of Jesus.

Besides these three, there are many other other ways in which the teachings in the gospel and parables of Jesus resonate with the call to "Let It Go."  What are some of them that you see?  For example take a look at the following passage in Luke....   I'll write more about it next time...

Luke 20 (Common English Bible)

Controversy over authority

20 On one of the days when Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests, legal experts, and elders approached him. They said, “Tell us: What kind of authority do you have for doing these things? Who gave you this authority?”
He replied, “I have a question for you. Tell me:  Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin?”
They discussed among themselves, “If we say, ‘It’s of heavenly origin,’ he’ll say, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘It’s of human origin,’ all the people will stone us to death because they are convinced that John was a prophet.” They answered that they didn’t know where it came from.
Then Jesus replied, “Neither will I tell you what kind of authority I have to do these things.”


An attempt to trap Jesus

20 The legal experts and chief priests were watching Jesus closely and sent spies who pretended to be sincere. They wanted to trap him in his words so they could hand him over to the jurisdiction and authority of the governor. 21 They asked him, “Teacher, we know that you are correct in what you say and teach. You don’t show favoritism but teach God’s way as it really is. 22 Does the Law allow people to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23 Since Jesus recognized their deception, he said to them,24 “Show me a coin.[b] Whose image and inscription does it have on it?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
25 He said to them, “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” 26 They couldn’t trap him in his words in front of the people. Astonished by his answer, they were speechless.


Jesus condemns the legal experts

45 In the presence of all the people, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Watch out for the legal experts. They like to walk around in long robes. They love being greeted with honor in the markets. They long for the places of honor in the synagogues and at banquets. 47  They are the ones who cheat widows out of their homes, and to show off they say long prayers. They will be judged most harshly.”

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