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For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NLT)

It’s hard to let go of things. There’s an age old story about how people used to catch monkeys. The story has several versions and may or may not be true. However, its message is worth a repeat here. In the story a jar or coconut was used to catch a monkey by putting peanuts through the opening. The neck of the vessel was small enough for a monkey to put its open hand in so it could grab the peanuts. However, the opening was too small for it to remove his clenched fist. As the story goes, the monkey would be so intent on keeping its prize (the peanuts) that he would be easily captured with its hand ‘in the cookie jar’, so to speak.

Like the monkey each of us has those things in our lives that are hard to let go of. It could be the pain of rejection; a broken or unfulfilled relationship; the emotional scars of abuse; fear of failure; the loss of a dream or the guilt of our poor choices and mistake ridden past. Reality is, it doesn’t really matter what the ‘peanuts’ in our lives are, until we can let go of them we are trapped.

The writer to the Hebrews relates a similar situation when he encourages his readers to get rid of everything that holds us down. He uses the analogy of a runner getting rid of any extra clothing so that nothing would encumber them. In the ancient Olympic games runners ran nude (or nearly so) in order to be completely free of anything that would keep them from winning.

Jesus says, “Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted”. Normally we associate mourning with death and while that is the most severe type of mourning, there are many other ways in which we mourn. Those things we mourn over become the ‘peanuts’ in our lives.

The good news is that Jesus came to give comfort for the things that cause pain; that cause mourning in our lives. Never lose sight of the fact that Jesus Christ desperately wants to comfort you in your pain. He came to earth so that we could have relationship with him, freedom from guilt. His purpose isn’t to laden us with more rules or remind us of our failures. His purpose is to give us freedom.

The problem is those ‘peanuts’. We need to let go of the pain. We need to let go of the anger and resentment. We need to let go of the false belief that we are a failure. We need to let go of the lofty dreams of a fairy tale existence where everyone lives happily ever after. The Apostle Paul tells us that until we let go of those things, God cannot free us.

When we truly let go of our sin and negative feelings, He will come in and comfort us and show us the true meaning of relationship and forgiveness. Let the following prayer be your gateway to letting go and getting life.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus. It seems like I can’t let go of this feeling of guilt, remorse, anger [fill in your own pain]. I try so hard to make the right choices and they blow up in my face. I’m asking you today to forgive me and help me to live for you. Help me change the things that need changing and let go of the things that keep me from life. Amen.

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April 2013
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