What is the best gift you could give someone this Christmas?
I spoke with a friend yesterday about her crumbling marriage. After 15 years, her husband left her and their four children. After making it on her own for the last year, he has returned to their house. She believes he's back only because he has no where else to go. "Every time I look at him, I have such anger and disdain for him and what he did to our relationship," she told me. "I want to forgive him and I know I should, but I'm just so mad that I can't right now!" And who could blame her?
Why is it that when we think about forgiving someone, we feel like we own our grudge? It's like a family pet that we are so attached to, if it were to leave we'd be so lost without it around? Instead of looking at our grudge as a prized possession that is mine, perhaps it may be easier to look at our forgiveness as a gift--a gift the other person needs.
Most of us hear the pleas of various non-profit programs begging for donations and gifts-for-the-needy. We hear them say, "Children won't have a Merry Christmas unless you give out of the kindness of your heart to those less fortunate." In that same way, you and I have a present, or a gift, that someone needs. They won't get it any other way, nor from any other person, if you and I don't give it to them. In that respect, forgiveness becomes a gift.
Philippians 2:5 says, "You must have the same attitude as Christ Jesus had." That's pretty straight forward, isn't it? No room for misunderstanding there.
So what is the first gift God gave us? Forgiveness. God's forgiveness was given to us through His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to earth that first Christmas morning.
For some, forgiveness is the best gift you and I could give this Christmas. It may be the only gift they truly need.