The Gift of Forgiveness

If you’ve ever listened to the words of contemporary Christian artist Matthew West, you will recognize the following, as I don’t think anyone captures the how difficult it is to forgive – or the freedom that comes – when you can give the gift of forgiveness when he sings:

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“Release the Sweet Song of Forgiveness”, Lunel Haysner – 2011

It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve

It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word…

Forgiveness, Forgiveness

It flies in the face of all your pride
It moves away the mad inside
It’s always anger’s own worst enemy
Even when the jury and the judge
Say you gotta right to hold a grudge
It’s the whisper in your ear saying ‘Set It Free’

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible

Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

It’ll clear the bitterness away
It can even set a prisoner free
There is no end to what it’s power can do
So, let it go and be amazed
By what you see through eyes of grace
The prisoner that it really frees is you

Forgiveness, Forgiveness
Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Show me how to love the unlovable
Show me how to reach the unreachable
Help me now to do the impossible
Forgiveness

I want to finally set it free
So show me how to see what Your mercy sees
Help me now to give what You gave to me

Forgiveness, Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a powerful, powerful gift.  But boy it can be a tough one to give!  I don’t know about you, but as I sit and ponder the thought of how to truly prepare myself for this holiday season and open my heart to being able to truly experience all of the joy and magic it brings, I know the experience of the season will be richer if I can master my own struggles with forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a core part of how I was raised.  For as long as I can remember, I was taught that the right thing to do was to offer forgiveness no matter what!  It was simply the christian thing to do.  Over the years, it almost seemed like I turned myself into a bit of a doormat as important people in my life wronged me and I felt obligated to let them “off the hook” by the required “It’s ok.  I forgive you.”

It wasn’t ok.  It hurt.  As I have become more seasoned in my life, I’ve learned that I can forgive the hurt and disappointment that comes my way, but I can do it in a way that doesn’t require me to give up my dignity and or minimize my feelings along the way.  I can thank someone for apologizing for the hurt they have caused, but I don’t have to say “It’s ok” when it isn’t.  There’s tremendous freedom in knowing that letting go and accepting the apology doesn’t mean you are condoning the hurt.  It means you are setting yourself free.  You are allowing yourself to move past being the victim and moving forward to becoming a person who has the courage and character to overcome adversity.

Giving the gift of forgiveness is a tremendous gift.  Not only to those who have wronged you, but even more importantly, to yourself.  Give it this Christmas and discover how large the world ahead of you will become!

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