We call it the “Mysterious House”…because that’s exactly what it is. We’ve never seen a light on in it. Never seen anyone go in or out of there. Never seen any kind of activity there at all. The grass doesn’t grow. There are no bushes, shrubs, or flowers to be watered or tended to. You may be thinking these people just work nights or travel a lot. Nope. You may be thinking that the person living there is just one of those hermit types who keep to themselves. Wrong again. You can try to explain this one away, but you’ll never guess why we have called this place the “Mysterious House” for nearly 18 years.
So the story goes something like this…A married couple lived there for quite some time. He had an affair and left her. He filed for divorce. She never agreed to the terms or signed the papers because she knew that he would get half of everything (including the sale of the house) and she couldn’t stomach giving him a dime. She wanted no part of giving him any satisfaction of moving on. She wanted nothing to do with any kind of settlement because she wasn’t the one who did anything wrong. Apparently, no divorce means no sale of the house. So they both moved out and for almost 18 years it’s been just sitting there. (No, I’m not joking!)
The bottom line is she continues to bear the burden of this house while he’s moved on. She’s the one who apparently still “tends” to it (although we’ve never seen her there), and he’s long gone. This just blows my mind. Why not let go of this burden—as wrong and painful as it may be—and get on with living life today? Why not let go of all that mess? Why not be free of the weight, the inconvenience, and the hassle of an embittered mind and heart that keeps her tied down to the past of their former life?
Jesus made an interesting statement in Luke 9:57 when He said, “Anyone who starts to plow and then keeps looking back is of no use for the Kingdom of God.” If we think of this from a practical farming perspective it makes perfect sense. If you’re plowing a field with your eyes glued behind you, how can you see what’s ahead of you? How can you avoid the obstacles that lie directly in front of you? How can you make straight lines before you when you’re caught up in the lines behind you?
Here’s the thing…my neighbor’s refusal to let go of her past has most assuredly crippled her present. No, I don’t know this gal at all. I’ve never met her. I don’t have any idea what kind of person she is, what she does for a living, etc. But, I’m thoroughly convinced that if you’re bound to your past, you cannot fully live in your present. It simply doesn’t work. You can deceive yourself into thinking differently, but if you’ve got any kind of grip on “what used to be,” you will miss out on “what is right now.”
At some point we must fully embrace the Apostle Paul’s thought, “the one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to reach what is ahead” (Philippians 3:13).
God has so much in store for us but we’ve got to be fully present in the here and now to be able to experience it. No more burdens from the past. No more weights and hassles. No more mess or bitterness based on what was.
Fully ready to reach what is ahead.
…Fully fit to be of use for the Kingdom of God.
Count me in on what is here and now and is to come. Count me out on what was, what used to be.
Isn’t it time to let go?