Christmas is a time of giving for most families. Parents work hard to get extra money for the gifts that they expect to give their kids. Spouses struggle to think of a worthy gift for their loved one that also fits their budget, without sacrificing quality. Kids, well, they open the gifts given by the parents/adults. Christmas is really the season for giving. God initiated this Himself when He gave his only son, Jesus, for our salvation and the restoration of His people. It was both an expensive and meaningful gift.
As I reflect on God’s gift, I was wondering what I could give to others that would be very meaningful and that would change the people around me. I came to the conclusion that forgiveness is one of the best gifts that could be given to someone this Christmas season or before the start of the New Year. It is so expensive that a large part of yourself would be given away—your pride, your attitude, and the wall that you put up throughout the years to defend yourself, so you wouldn’t get hurt again.
Everybody has someone in their life that needs to be forgiven, not just in mind, but by personally speaking to that person. Christmas and the time before New Year’s is the best time to do it. It is hard to forgive, especially if the person who has wronged you has not confessed to the wrong they committed. It’s sometimes annoying that people cannot say the words “I’m sorry”. They say it in creative ways: like a husband washing the dishes without being told, or a wife who suddenly massages the husbands shoulders after a long drought of words following an argument, or a child that just suddenly vacuums the carpet after messing up the living room. People can be good at saying sorry without saying “I am sorry”.
Regardless, we need to forgive them even if we don’t feel it or they haven’t said ‘I’m sorry’. Releasing forgiveness facilitates freedom for you. The bible commands us to forgive as we have been forgiven:“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13)
I remember an argument I had with my wife one night. I felt that I was right and I was not going to budge this time. I was furious, and I decided to storm out of the house and drive away. As I was backing out of the garage, the back bumper of my car hit the front side of a car parked on the street. Interestingly enough, the father of the owner was outside and saw the whole thing. I was thinking that this was not a good time to talk to the owner, as I was filled with intense emotion. However, I knew I had messed up. I talked to the father of the owner and apologized because there was just no way around it. I explained to him that I wasn’t focused on backing out because I had some stuff in my mind, but nevertheless, they should feel free to process this through the insurance companies.
To my surprise he talked to his son, came back to me, and said to forget about it. It was all good. At that moment, I felt forgiven for something I was caught doing and was definitely guilty, but the offended person understood my situation and decided to set me free from the possible consequences of my mistakes. I was forgiven and that feeling was so good that I decided to go to Safeway and buy some flowers and chocolates for my wife! It didn’t matter to me who was right or who was wrong. I was going to release forgiveness no matter what because I had felt forgiveness! Everyone needs to experience that in their lives. I was stirred to forgive my wife (who was probably right to begin with) because I was forgiven by somebody that I wronged.
Give someone this precious gift, and experience the life that it brings to your heart. Start 2016 with a clean slate, and a free heart. We are forgiven to forgive!