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I Resolve to Let It Go

I Resolve to Let It Go

Then Pharaoh called Moses and said, “Go, serve the LORD; your little ones also may go with you; only let your flocks and your herds remain behind.” Exodus 10:24

In jail recently, I was talking with the guys about resolutions. Most of those I’ve met in jail resolve to live differently. They promise themselves, their families, and the judge, that next time will be different. This resolution is often only an imaginary switch in the brain though. When released, they frequently find they’ve made no actual change. They simply go back to the old life, often ending up right back in jail. They claimed to have let go, but they’ve done nothing to actually cut the old ways out of their lives. They’ve discovered letting go isn’t as easy as resolving to do so.

I did this in my addiction. A thousand times, I resolved to let go of my pills. I did nothing to cut them out of my life though, and so they remained an option. I changed nothing, discovering that if nothing changes, nothing changes. When I finally found recovery, I learned that simply resolving to let go of a thing was simply a plan for failure. To find recovery and freedom, I had to do (not just think) whatever it took to cut drugs out of my life. This was painful – no one goes to treatment for fun – but not cutting them out of my life had become far too costly.

In today’s passage, Pharaoh vainly resolved to let go. Dependent on the Israelites for slave labor, he inflicted tremendous pain on Egypt by repeatedly refusing to let God’s go to people worship in the wilderness. In the story, the ninth plague, one of palpable darkness, covered the land. Sitting in his self-inflicted destruction, Pharaoh told Moses that the Hebrews could go worship God, but then added that they must leave their livestock behind. Pharaoh was trying to let go, but he clung to this ransom. Even though it was killing his own people, Pharaoh could not completely let go.

Many of us have found ourselves here. We resolve to quit looking at porn on our smartphone, but we can’t give up the smartphone. We resolve to eat healthy, but we do nothing to change our eating habits. We resolve to stop our self-destructive behavior, because we know it’s deadly to our faith, but still, we cling to a remnant of it, changing nothing. Resolving to let go isn’t a plan. Rather, it’s a plan for failure. To truly let go of something, we must go to God, asking what it would take to cut that thing out of our lives. Then, we must do it. This will be painful, but not as painful as refusing to let go.

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