Dear Ones,
Hope you have a wonderful day! It is Al’s birthday today and there is a banner on our door and more cards it seems, every time we open the door. Al is at men’s group, and I just made Gluten free cookies for church and meatloaf for us. We have Bible study this afternoon so will wait to go out for dinner another day. 
Devotions from Judy’s heart 
  It is likely all of us have been hurt by someone close to us and we felt the wounds and at times let them fester. We all had to make a choice if we wanted to let the pain eat away our joy or if we would forgive the hurt that we may not have deserved, and let our heart heal. I am reading a book by a professor who was at Fuller seminary, Lewis Smedes on “Forgive and Forget, and it is causing me to go to a deeper level in how I deal with hurts. Whenever we open ourselves up to others, we are vulnerable to hurts and they are healed by forgiving the one who wounded us.
  Some may choose to deny the pain as we don’t want others to have that much power over us to hurt us. Or we may not admit the pain out of fear that we may end up hating the people that are to love us rightly, like a parent. Sometimes people hurt us believing they are just being fair or because they may feel we deserve it. Some hurt is caused unintentionally or a spill-over of the chaos in the other person’s own life. Or maybe a doctor makes an error that severely changes our life even though it wasn’t purposeful, and we are left to forgive.
  Smedes writes how annoyances and slights are superficial and we just need to shrug them off and go on with our lives. That is different from serious hurts like disloyalty when a husband leaves his wife for another woman, or betrayal when a friend treats us like the enemy, or brutality when a woman is raped by a stranger.  Those things that cause us deep pain we will need to practice forgiveness. As it says in Col. 3:13, “if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
  If we refuse to forgive, we end up with passive hate that does not wish the offender well; in fact, we may wish them harm as in aggressive hate which becomes like a malignant growth in our body until we deal with it and go on to be healed. When we deny those hateful feelings, it leaves us cold, and we feel sick inside. Hate will only grow, and we need to instead forgive the one who has hurt us. Smedes describes it as spiritual surgery inside our own soul for we cut away the wrong done to us so we can see the enemy in a new light and detach the person from our hurt. We let it go like a trapped butterfly set free. Through the eyes of forgiveness, we see their own hurt and release them. One day when we notice that we actually wish them well, we realize that we have begun to forgive. Even if the other person does not respond, we are free and healing! Let us not hold on to hurt, anger and hate, but forgive and be set free.
Challenge for today: Check your heart to see if you can wish someone well that has hurt you in the past; If not, ask the Holy Spirit to help you let them go and to forgive.
  Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy