Letting Something Die

 In Jason Bunger, Preaching & Teaching

Forrest Gump is known for saying “Death is a part of life.”  At first hearing, it sounds inconsistent and contradictory.  Yet one of the great paradoxes is that there is no living without dying.  

One of the most painful things in life is to let something die whether it is a dream, an endeavor or a relationship.

I am not talking about quitting.  I am talking about admitting the that best opportunity for something to live in the future is for something to die in the present.  

No doubt that it is painful to let something die that we have put so much of ourselves into preserving for so long. 

What does “letting something die” accomplish? 

Others are enabled to confront reality.  

In our attempts to rescue others, we often do just enough to allow things to stay exactly as they are.  Things will never get better if we are more invested in the success – sobriety or stability of the person we are trying to help.  

We may need to let the following happen:

  • a relationship to end in order to move on, 
  • someone to hit rock bottom so that they finally recognize they need help, or
  • someone to suffer with the consequences of their actions.

Limits us from being entangled in the problem we are incapable of changing.   

In short, those who are the most involved are often the most misunderstood.  It is similar to being in a car with a reckless driver.  If we try to grab the wheel, we will probably not keep the car on the road.  Furthermore, we will be the one who takes the blame if there is an accident because we had our hand on the wheel even though we were trying to help.  Is it possible that in trying to preserve the health of someone or something, you are actually the one that is being blamed for their demise?  

Accepts that God often does His best work after death.

In God‘s economy life comes from dust and death.  Don’t believe me?  Ask Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead.  

On at least two occasions, Peter tried to prevent the death of Jesus.  

After Jesus predicted His death and resurrection, Peter rebuked Jesus for doing so.   Matthew 16:21-23 tells us: From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”  

On another occasion, Peter used violence to thwart the arrest and execution of Jesus. John 18:10 records that “Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear.” 

If Peter were able to prevent the death of Jesus,  he would have prevented what Jesus accomplished through His death.  It was Jesus’s death that led to his resurrection and therefore secures our resurrection.  

These are small reminders that sometimes we need to let things die in order to let them live.   In our sincere attempts to preserve security and avoid pain, we often prevent the death that would eventually lead to life.   

Jesus does not bring life from hard work, effort, or resolve.  Life comes from the work of the Spirit.  It is not by might nor by power but by my spirit says the Lord of Hosts. 

Letting some things die is not giving up, it actually may be giving life. 

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