Monday, November 19, 2007

Thanksgiving is For-Giving

This week ushers in one of my favorite holidays--Thanksgiving. It's one of my favorite because I get the opportunity to be with most of my family, which only happens a few times a year. But isn't it funny how being with some members of your family can open up old wounds? There are just some people in the family who make it difficult for you to get along with them, much less love them.

There isn't a family I know of that doesn't have "one of those" people in their family. They've said something or done something and we can't seem to get past it. We say we have forgiven them, but do our actions and our words show that we have?

Our pastor so aptly has been preaching on forgiveness. How appropriate that he ended his series yesterday, the week most of us will be around those family members. The story of Joseph in the Bible is a wonderful story of forgiveness and family reconciliation. There are other scriptures I've found on forgiveness I've been studying. Matthew 6:14 says, "If I forgive people their trespasses, my heavenly Father will also forgive me." Mark 11:25-26 says, "And whenever I stand praying, if I have anything against anyone, I forgive him and let it drop, in order that my Father, Who is in heaven may also forgive me my own failings and shortcomings and let them drop. But if I do not forgive, neither will my Father in heaven forgive my failings and shortcomings." And Ephesians 4:32 says, "I am useful and helpful and kind to others, tenderhearted, forgiving others, as God in Christ forgave me." Seems pretty cut and dry, doesn't it?"

There are families who have remained in turmoil because of deeds done to them generations ago. Forgiving the words and actions of a person who has hurt us is a big step. It isn't easy and to be honest, it isn't fun. But God didn't ask our opinion and certainly didn't ask us if we WANTED to forgive the offense. God COMMANDS us to forgive.

Getting together this week with that person(s) who has deeply hurt you won't be easy. But forgiving them will set us free. More importantly, it may even change your family tree and mine, too.

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