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I don't think it is a coincidence that "forgive" contains the word
"give," do you? One of the most giving things you can do is forgive people
who wrong you. Not an easy gift, but then again, the very nature of giving
involves sacrifice. Most gifts involve sacrifice of time or money, but
this gift-the gift of forgiveness-involves a sacrifice that cannot be measured
in either time or money, it involves laying down justifiable anger, hurt
and pain to extend grace to the very person who caused the anger, hurt
or pain. In many ways, forgiveness is giving of our souls to someone else.
Not to the person who harmed us, but to our God who loves us.
When we forgive, we are doing what Jesus would do-what He did do-what
He still does. Hanging on the cross, He prayed, "Father forgive them..."
At the time he extended grace to the undeserving men & women who mocked,
tortured and crucified Him, the greatest injustice in human history was
taking place. He wasn't forgiving a small thing, He was forgiving the greatest
So when we forgive the small (relative to what Jesus suffered) injustices
of life, we extend grace to those who wrong us and our souls to the Lord
who forgives. It happens every time. When we forgive, we give. We give
grace to others and place our souls in God's hands to watch over. We're
saying, "Here God, I trust you to defend me, I don't have to defend myself."
We say, "Because I stand in need of forgiveness, I forgive."
But there is another gift we give. This gift is not to those who wronged
us or to God-this one is to ourselves. Peace of mind. Is there anything
more pitiful than someone who grows old holding grudges? Is there anything
more lovely than a forgiving person full of grace and peace? When you look
into the mirror, what do you want to see? Spite, anger and bitterness?
Or grace, joy and peace?
Do yourself a favor. Forgive.
Read the sermon
that corresponds to this devotional.