Lately I’ve seen and heard the topic everywhere: On Christian radio, in Hallmark movies, in songs. You will even find it as a frequent topic in my novels.
So why is there so much written and spoken about the topic? Perhaps because it is a universal issue that we all face: Forgiving those who have hurt us.
Last night I had the honor of doing the devotional for a Ladies’ Christmas Tea held through our church. When I was asked to give the fifteen minute talk to the group, I accepted, but had no clue what I was to speak about. I asked the hostess to pray for me to have wisdom and discernment about what topic I should choose. And I prayed. I never take these opportunities lightly.
When I awoke the next morning, it was as clear as the rising sun. I was to speak about the chapter that I had written in a book called Unshackled and Free, True Stories of Forgiveness. The book was compiled by CJ and Shelley Hitz and, although I was happy that my chapter was chosen, I declined to promote it at the time because I feared it would cause pain to someone.
But I knew now was the right time to share my story. While my narrative is perhaps not nearly as dramatic as those who have suffered serious abuse, I could tell by the response in the dozen or more ladies gathered last evening that it was a timely topic. We all wrestle with forgiveness.
And as the holidays approach and family gatherings are more frequent, perhaps this is something that will touch your heart and help you.
Last night I quoted one of my heroines, Corrie Ten Boom. She was put in a concentration camp in the Netherlands during WWII with her sister, who eventually succumbed to the horrific conditions in the camp. Corrie survived and afterwards, the Lord led her to speak before groups all over the world. Her testimony of forgiveness, even to one of the guards at the camp, is the most inspiring I have ever heard.
When speaking about her decision to forgive, she once emphasized that it is not necessary to FEEL like forgiving, but it is necessary to be OBEDIENT to forgive:
“Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.” — Corrie Ten Boom
Jesus said, “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Matthew 6:14-15 NIV
The Apostle Paul said, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV
Is there someone you need to forgive today? It’s only a decision away.
Unshackled and Free is available at Amazon. Click here.
Featured image courtesy of talented photographer Thomas Deitner