The Gift of Forgiveness

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Need a last-minute gift idea?  Here’s one we might all consider…


“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Ephesians 4:32

Do you have a strained relationship in your life? 
Maybe a friendship that used to be close, and now there’s “frost on the window." What if you decided to take the first step, and let the person know that you would like to have a new start for your relationship?    

Forgiveness is a gift.
It’s key that we forgive in a gracious way.  Sometimes forgiveness is granted in a manner that brings unneeded shame to the other party, a sort of  “I have finally found a way to forgive a creep like you.”   That’s not forgiving “just as in Christ God forgave you.”  Our Father in heaven is gracious and abounding in love (Psalm 103). 

When I forgive, I am actually giving a gift to myself as well. 

Scientific research shows that when we forgive, we'll be happier and healthier (Robert Enright Ph.D., International Forgiveness Institute, University of Wisconsin-Madison). Studies by Dr. Fred Laskin at Stanford University also indicate that forgiveness can be learned.I think that’s super encouraging, since giving up all claims to revenge or punishment because of an offense can be extraordinarily difficult.  Extending mercy rather than retribution is an intentional act that does not come naturally.Forgiveness means another person can be safe in my presence.  They don’t worry that I will somehow seek to get even. 

More important than the scientific research and positive benefits to my health is the fact that Jesus told me I must forgive.  Here’s how Jesus says it in his instruction on prayer:

“Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors...For if you forgive men when they sin against you your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Heavenly Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:12, 14,15

So forgiveness is an act of obedience, requiring the work of the Holy Spirit in me.  As we step out in obedience, trusting him to help us, he will give us the grace we need.  We may need a trusted friend or counselor to walk with us in the process.  What we can know for sure is that because the Lord is full of mercy, he loves to see us—and wants to help us—give this gift to others!

You might begin with a letter, letting them know that you own your part in your falling out.  As you process the hurt they've caused, let them know that you’re willing to move past the hurt, and you want to feel alright about being in the same room together.

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