Last week, in my newspaper column, I said that Christmas is FOR GIVING. This week, I’d like to take out the space between those two words.
Christmas is FORGIVING.
Forgiving means removing the space between others and ourselves. It’s taking away the distance from our hearts.
Now, nobody wants to walk around with a heavy load of resentment and bitterness. Yet, finding a path to forgiveness is one of the most difficult things a human being can do. If it was easy, everybody would do it. But it’s hard – particularly if the offense was deep.
Sometimes, the people who should be closest to us are the ones we struggle to forgive. That’s because the closer we are to somebody, the more opportunities we (and they) have to do or say hurtful things.
Forgiveness is about letting it go and not holding the bitterness in your heart. It means placing the hurt and the one who hurt you over into God’s hands.
You might be tempted to “punish” the wrongdoer by holding tight to resentment. However, the only person you punish with a grudge is yourself. I recall my mother saying, “Bitterness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
The only way to find release is to release – to let it go.
Often, people fail to forgive because they can’t say “that’s ok.” However, you don’t have to say “that’s ok” in order to forgive. There are many evil actions and words that are NOT ok – and they never will be ok. It would be an offensive lie to say “that’s ok”
A better way to deal with it is to say, “What you did was NOT ok. It was wrong and hurtful. But, I choose to forgive you anyway.”
That’s what Christmas is all about, isn’t it? Extending forgiveness and grace? That’s the very reason Jesus came to earth, taking on the form of human flesh. He came to extend forgiveness and grace. He came, bringing mercy.
This Christmas, the best gift you could give to yourself is to forgive the one who has wronged you. When you let it go, you will find an overwhelming sense of peace. You will discover just how heavy that burden has been for your spirit.
Open your heart and your hand. Release the resentment. Let peace fill you completely.
Peace on Earth.
Good will towards men.