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Today’s Truth

He (God) is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven.

Ephesians 1:7

Friend to Friend

The holidays have a way of resurrecting old hurts. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is the choice to forgive those who have hurt us.

Forgiveness is not easy – but it is necessary if we want to experience peace and joy.

Part of forgiveness is releasing the person from the debt we think they owe us. Refusing to do so extinguishes our joy.

Sometimes we just need to let go and cut our losses instead of allowing the weight of an unpaid debt deplete our mental and emotional energy. In other words, we can forgive the debt and set ourselves free.

Years ago, Dan and I decided it was time to sell one of our old junky cars. We had several from which to choose, but one was junkier than the rest. A man who worked for the church said he could fix up the car and decided to buy it.

The man agreed to make monthly payments for one year. No papers were signed because it was a business agreement between two ministers. I know. Some lessons are learned the hard way.

Dan gave the man the car title and car keys. The man gave us nothing. Not one penny.

Dan talked with him several times. “I will make a payment soon,” the man promised. “Soon” never came.

I was furious – not so much because of the money, although it would have come in very handy, but because this man was taking advantage of my husband’s giving heart … and ticking me off in the process. I ranted and fumed for several days until Dan said, “Honey, I have decided to forgive the debt on that old car.” Well, I decided not to, and my anger grew.

A few weeks later, the man quit his job at the church and went to work for a nearby grocery store – my grocery store. Almost every time I went to the store, the man was there. And every time I saw him, my anger grew. I finally realized that this whole car situation was robbing my life of joy.

I decided to give him the car. It was the only thing I could do if I wanted peace.

I created a mental scene in which I drove to the grocery store, handed the car keys to the man, and said, “Merry Christmas!”

The plan worked. I forgave the debt and let it go. The most amazing thing happened. I was the one set free. Not one thing about my circumstances had changed. But my heart had.

From that day on, every time I saw the man, I waved and smiled. He began avoiding me, unable to look me in the eyes. God really does have a sense of humor. A few weeks later, I saw the man driving a different car and learned from one of his co-workers that “his old car just up and died.” Enough said.

Forgiveness is a deliberate choice – not an emotion or a feeling. Feelings may or may not follow that choice, but God’s favor certainly will. Honestly, when it comes to forgiveness, feelings are irrelevant, but obedience is crucial. Do not base the validity of what you are doing on how you feel.

If we make the choice to forgive, God will supply the forgiveness.

There should be no limit to our forgiveness because there is no limit to His.

Forgiveness is our greatest need and God’s greatest gift.

Let’s Pray

Father, I praise You for the love and forgiveness You so freely offer. I don’t understand how You can love me when I am so unworthy of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. To think that He died for me rocks my world. Please give me the wisdom and strength to forgive those who have hurt me. I want my life to be a living illustration of Your unconditional love and unending forgiveness.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Make a list of the sins in your life that need the forgiveness of God. Ask God to forgive you for each one. Is there someone you need to forgive? Is there someone who needs your forgiveness? Choose now to step out in obedience and give the gift of forgiveness.

More from the Girlfriends

One of the most powerful illustrations of God’s love and forgiveness is found in the lives of Hosea and Gomer. Hear their story in my MP3 download … Love That Never Fails.

Be sure to check out the FREE MP3s on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through E-mail, Twitter, Instagram, Shopify, or on Facebook.

4 Responses to “The Gift of Forgiveness”

  1. Jackie says:

    Thank you Mary for your vulnerability in sharing this. I have a friend who was in a terrible accident when someone came through a stop sign. She had many internal injuries plus was left blind. She is holding on to faith that God is going to heal her blindness. I asked her once if she was angry at God. She said not at God but she’s had to forgive the woman who caused it. But her tone indicated perhaps she had not truly forgiven her. It must be awfully difficult. Do you have any words of wisdom for me to give her?
    Thank you.

  2. Penny says:

    This is an amazing word. Although a very tough pill to swallow. I have been living with a bitterness towards a very close family member. She seems to do anything & everything to push my buttons. I keep quite to an extent, due to the position she holds in my family. It seems every time I feel I am making some kind of progress to “letting go” she pulls a new & more unnerving trick from her hat. So I feel I take 1 step forward & 2 steps back. But my only hope is just keep going. I’ve always tried to live by the idea of “just keep moving. one foot in front of the other.” Do not let her steal my joy in my life. I have so many other things to enjoy & praise about. Why do I let her take my energy?? So, with the help of God & my close friends & family who know the story, I am moving & not allowing her to consume my time. What happens then? Although my guard is still up & well enforced, I’m informed she spent most of Saturday night reading her bible, praying,& crying out to God!!! Then Sunday morning she is church & actively listening & taking notes on the message. Both of these instances is very unusual for her.
    I’m guessing & praying it was one of those situations of “Let Go & Let God”. “Get out of the way Penny & let me do what I do when I chose to do it” WOW!! I need to be an example of Jesus. I thought I was being until I find out about Saturday & Sunday. Then I have to ask myself was I really or was I being incredibly self centered? I’m thinking the latter of the two.

  3. Valerie says:

    I get your devotionals through email, but tried searching Google Playstore for your app. I couldn’t find it. Could you check on that?
    I am always inspired, encouraged and challenged by the things you share in the devotionals.
    Thank you for being faithful to your calling in Christ.
    Blessings!

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