“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?’
Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’” (Matthew 18:21–22)
Christmas is the time of year when we do a lot giving. We give presents to our friends and family. We give time to local soup kitchens, the Salvation Army, and other worthy outreaches. We give money to charitable organizations such as Shop With a Cop, Toys for Tots, the American Red Cross, and Samaritan’s Purse.
So, while we’re in this “giving mode,” why not give the gift of forgiveness this Christmas Season? If you’ve been holding a grudge against someone, this is the perfect time to let it go and forgive that person once and for all.
Maybe you thought you’d forgiven that family member or that former friend or that cantankerous co-worker, but every time you think of that person, a little tinge of “ickiness” fills your heart. Wouldn’t you love to get rid of those icky feelings? Wouldn’t you love to live free from that hurt and replace it with God’s joy and peace?
Well, you can if you are willing to offer forgiveness.
You might say, “But, Michelle that person isn’t even sorry!” That’s okay. That person doesn’t have to be sorry in order for you to forgive. In fact, that person doesn’t even have to be alive for you to offer forgiveness. If you’re still harboring hurt over harsh words your late mother said to you, or if you’re still suffering in your soul from abuse you experienced at the hands of a late relative, it’s time to choose forgiveness.
Some grief experts even suggest writing a letter to that person, saying everything you always wanted to say but never had the opportunity to share, reading it out loud, writing “I forgive you” over the top of your letter in bold letters, and then shredding it or burning it. While that might seem pointless to you, it’s not. It’s an act of faith and a step toward the restoration of your heart. You don’t have to feel it—just forgive by faith. God will help you. You see, forgiving someone doesn’t mean you’re condoning his or her inexcusable behavior; it just means that you’re courageous enough to forgive and move forward.
Why am I so passionate about urging you to choose forgiveness today? Because I know from experience that when you give the gift of forgiveness, you’ll receive gifts, too—freedom, love, joy, peace and more! I hope you’ll let Jesus fill your heart today so that there is no room for any hurt. Let’s face it; it’s been a tough 2020 so let’s end it on a high note. I hope that you’ll have a very Merry Christmas Season and the Happiest New Year ever!