The songs declare to us that Christmas should be the happiest, most joyful, wonderful time of the year. I certainly hope that you have joy this Christmas season. But, for most, Christmas brings extra stresses and pressures, which can lead to some trying moments in our relationships. I want to encourage you to be a person of forgiveness this Christmas season.
Here are a few verses to ponder:
Matt 6:12 "And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors."
Matt 6:14-15 ""For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
Matt 18:21-22 "Then Peter came to Him and said, 'Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?' Jesus said to him, 'I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. '"
Clearly God's expectation is for His children to extend forgiveness in their relationships. I'm not saying that forgiving is easy, but it's very important and God expects it from us. A little boy was once asked what forgiveness is gave this telling answer: "It is the odor that flowers breathe when they are trampled upon."
We don't forgive because a person deserves to be forgiven. Nor do we receive forgiveness because we deserve to be forgiven. It's a gift and an act of the will. We do so on the basis of God's forgiveness towards us as found in Jesus Christ. God's gift of forgiveness to us should compel us to forgive others who have offended us.
Ephesians 4:32 says it so well: "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."
And remember, when you forgive, you are also doing something good for yourself. A story has been told about a fellow at a farm watching an old farmer plowing. After a while, the man said, "I don't like to tell you how to run your business, but you could save yourself a lot of work by saying, 'Gee' and 'Haw' to that mule instead of just tugging on those lines." The old farmer pulled a big handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face. Then he said, "Reckon you're right, but this animal kicked me five years ago and I ain't spoke to him since."
I hope you'll ponder these matters and when your relationships are tested this Christmas season as will no doubt be the case at some point that you'll be ready to extend forgiveness to the one who hurt you and be reminded of God's forgiveness for your own life.