Celebrate Your Freedom
When the Bible says to forgive as you’ve been forgiven (Eph. 4:23), it's not there to sound philosophical or poetic. It's a big deal. There’s no new life without receiving forgiveness, and there’s no growing in that new life without giving it away freely. Every time someone offends you, there’s a choice: hold on to it until it becomes a root of bitterness in your heart and mind, or let it go.
If you choose to justify your offense, be warned: when you won’t forgive someone, you’re actually submitting to their judgment of you. That seems like a contradiction, but by focusing on how they're hurting you, you’re giving them power over your thoughts and emotions. The more you obsess over it, the more it interferes with your relationship with God, and with who you are in Him. Gaps open in your identity, which usually get filled in by anger, resentment, and pain. You become more like your accusers, rather than who God says you can be.
Don't let how someone has lived, or not lived, rob you of fully living. Being offended just isn't a good enough reason to abort your astonishing identity and unique journey in Jesus Christ. Nothing is.
If you’re looking for sin and fault in others in order to justify your ongoing offense at them, you’ll succeed, but it will cost you your peace. If you’re looking for God's glory in others in order to restore and elevate them, you’ll succeed, but it will cost you your offense.
At the heart of the Thanksgiving and Christmas season is a celebration of freedom, because living in thankfulness, forgiveness, and God's grace is the best way to become and stay spiritually, emotionally, and mentally free. I hope this season is the most powerful celebration of your freedom in Christ you've ever had.