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What Are You Still Carrying?What Are You Still Carrying?
by Alan Smith


Two monks on a pilgrimage came to the ford of a river. There they saw a girl dressed in all her finery, obviously now knowing what to do since the river was high and she did not want to spoil her clothes. Without more ado, one of the monks took her on his back, carried her across and put her down on dry ground on the other side. Then the monks continued on their way.

However, the other monk, after an hour or so, started complaining, “Surely it is not right to touch a woman; it is against the commandments to have close contact with women. How could you go against the rules for monks?”

The monk who had carried the girl walked along silently, but finally he remarked, “I set her down by the river an hour ago, why are you still carrying her?”*

    One of the hardest things we must do is to let go of something from the past. Someone does us wrong and seeks forgiveness, but we want to keep carrying the memory. Or maybe we made a mistake and we can’t seem to stop beating ourselves up, despite the fact that we have done what God says to we need to do to be forgiven. We don’t want to keep carrying the memory (and the guilt), but we often do. In fact, it often seems more difficult to forgive ourselves than to forgive others. So when are you going to lay down your past mistakes?

So when are you going to lay down your past mistakes?
    The apostle Paul said, “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of {it} yet; but one thing {I do:} forgetting what {lies} behind and reaching forward to what {lies} ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14-15).

    Paul had to forget his past achievements (as an esteemed Jewish leader). He also had to forget his past failures (which including persecuting and killing God’s people). He had to set those aside and dwell on the challenges and opportunities ahead. Guess what? So do you! So what are you carrying today that you should have set down a long time ago? Why not set it aside and leave it with God and go on the things God wants to do through you today!

* Irmgard Schloegl, The Wisdom of Zen Masters
      © 2001, Alan Smith. Used by permission. This devotional was reprinted from “Thought for the Day.” To subscribe directly to TFTD, send a blank message to join-thought-for-the-day@xc.org.

      Title: "What Are You Still Carrying?"
      Author: Alan Smith
      Publication Date: July 23, 2001


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