As we go into the holiday season, we are bombarded with shopping ads to prepare us for giving gifts to our loved ones. I would like to encourage you to consider one of the best gifts you can give yourself that would also likely benefit your loved ones. This gift is costly but is well worth the investment!
The gift of FORGIVENESS – It is inevitable that we experience hurt and pain in life so take a moment to think about a situation or person that has hurt you. You have probably drawn unhealthy conclusions such as “I’m unlovable,” “People can’t be trusted”, or “I always make mistakes.” These thoughts can have a detrimental influence on your emotions, behavior, and relationships. Have you considered giving the gift of forgiveness? It has short-term costs but long-term benefits. What does it cost? I’m glad you asked. It requires you to think about situations you may have avoided in unhealthy ways by over – eating, drinking, working, exercising, shopping, and serial dating, etc. While it is uncomfortable to face memories of these negative events, it is necessary to get to the root of the matter in order for true forgiveness to be planted. I know you may be thinking it does not make sense to forgive yourself or someone else for something that was wrong but let me give you 2 things that forgiveness is NOT:
1. Forgiveness is NOT about the rightness/wrongness of a matter because that can vary depending on a person’s ethics and/or the situation.
2. Forgiveness is NOT necessarily reconciliation. The decision to reconcile a friendship or relationship is often a product of forgiveness, but there are times when God leads you to forgive and set boundaries by removing others out of your life.
You may also be thinking you have already forgiven yourself or someone else, so you don’t need to bestow this gift. If so, great! However, my experience has been that we tend to think of forgiveness as a single act, when it’s actually a process. One way to tell if you’ve truly forgiven is to examine whether you still have a sore spot, or you are still triggered by memories or situations that appear to have similarities of the original event(s). Forgiveness is one of the hardest acts of life to journey though. Nevertheless, consider the benefits such as peace, emotional stability, increased self-esteem, and improved relationships.
Forgiveness is a gift that keeps on giving, because when it’s firmly planted in good soil, the fruit is endless!