THE GIFT OF TRUE FORGIVENESS
It’s hard to believe there are only a few more days until Christmas. Yes, as the song says: “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” It really is wonderful! We are flooded with Christmas music, Christmas lights, and lots of Christmas “activities.” And although the season contains many distractions which attempt to pull us away, we generally make time to gather with family and friends and celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
But many will find this time of year to be very painful. The memories of past hurt, which may remain hidden throughout the year, are now driven to the surface. Many are required to face someone who has caused them pain, or face the memory of a past Christmas which brings the person, and pain, back into view.
Obviously, this is not the turmoil which God intends for our life…especially not as we celebrate the birth of His Son.
“Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
We cannot properly celebrate the birth of Jesus without reflecting on why He was born. Through His life He offered us a message of eternal hope, and through His death on the cross He offered us the complete forgiveness of sin. With this single act of unbelievable love, Jesus removed the sin which would otherwise keep us eternally separated from our Heavenly Father. This is the manner in which we are to love and forgive others.
Jesus told a parable about a servant who had an enormous debt canceled: “The servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go” (Matthew 18:26-27). But when the servant went away, he refused to cancel the relatively minor debt a fellow servant owed him; “Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt” (Matthew 18:30).
Jesus used this parable to show that unless we completely forgive others from deep within our heart, we have somehow failed to understand the forgiveness we have already received; “Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” (Matthew 18:33). Any sin which others may commit against us is small when viewed in light of the many sins we have committed against God! We have been completely forgiven of sooooo much!!
During this most wonderful time of the year, let’s reflect on the awesome gift we have been given through our Savior. Then, let’s give to others as we have already received. Let’s love and give the gift of true forgiveness.
Have a Christ-centered day!