The Power of Forgiveness
We are entering into the holiday season. It’s a time of joyous celebration and happy memories. Cherished traditions and quality time with the ones we love take center stage. But there are also negative emotions that come into play with the holiday season. Both the negative and the positive emotions can overrule the reasons we celebrate Christmas, Thanksgiving and other cherished holidays. I asked my team at church this morning about how they try to stay focused on Jesus during the advent season. I asked them what they felt like God was telling them to do during this time. One team member shared one small but powerful word:
It seems like a simple concept but it can incredibly complicated and difficult sometimes. It can feel like an impossible obstacle that we can’t possibly overcome. But Jesus overcame death and temptation to forgive us and his words are an incredible example of grace.
“Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” – Luke 23:34a.
The humility, the restraint, the power that Jesus demonstrated with those words is hard for me to comprehend sometimes. The Creator of the Universe came to walk with us, to dwell with us, and then He suffered and died for us. And he forgave us! I know in my own life I betray Christ and deny Him in many ways. I don’t stand up for my faith like I should. I am quiet when I should speak up more for His truth. I am silent about injustice when I should tirelessly advocate. I am prideful and look out for my own interests over that of others. I’m a mess y’all. And even though I have plenty of things to ask forgiveness for, sometimes I can be slow to forgive others.
Forgiveness isn’t easy. Life is hard, and the source of our pain is usually from people close to us. We are all human, and we all have been on the giving and receiving side of pain. And some of the pain we experience in this life feels unbearable. Sometimes the hurts committed against us feel so crippling and so intense that we don’t think we could possibly offer forgiveness.
But that’s where the power of Christ comes in. Christ dwells in us, and it’s with His power that we can forgive. It’s not always easy, but with Him all things are possible. If you are holding on to hurts, know that Christ wants to take that burden. My prayer is that all of us can encourage and lift each other up to fully embrace the power that comes when we forgive.So in the upcoming holiday season as you prepare to spend time with people you love and possibly people you struggle to love, think about this powerful word. Think about the impact forgiveness can make on your life as you celebrate the coming of Jesus. Release the hurts and lay them at the feet of Jesus. The release can bring you closer to God and can help you focus on the holy, beautiful season of Advent as we remember and celebrate the coming of our Lord.