Dear Ones,
Happy Weekend to you! Hope you have time to enjoy some time to relax and get renewed.  Today it is party day here as we celebrate all the August birthdays. Al always asks a question to the ones whose birthday it is, so we get to know each other better. Today we will also have to answer since we will both be celebrating our birthdays. Emoji
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  We were made to fellowship with others in spirit as well as in person. But often we receive hurts, that hinder friendships and times of fellowship together. Sometimes it is not intentional, but wounding takes place, and we need be honest with one another so we can forgive and heal. If we pretend nothing happened, we will experience space between us for we no longer look at them the same. But when it is brought out in the open and the one who wounded asks forgiveness of the pain they caused, it is like a miracle since healing can follow.                       
   Author Lewis Smedes who wrote Forgive and Forget, said we can’t forgive people for things we have forgotten about, but we have need to forgive what someone did because the pain is alive. That doesn’t include trivial things that we simply overlook but rather the pain we dare not remember as we stuff it under the rug of our unconsciousness. But it will pop up again unless we deal with it. Once we have forgiven, then we can experience the freedom of forgetting. Lewis says, “The test of forgiving lies with healing the lingering pain of the past, not forgetting that the past ever happened.”.                                                                                                                    
   He goes on to say that forgiving is not excusing the person because of their upbringing, their genetics, the culture etc. for it is how we played the hand we were delt. Forgiving is not just smoothing over conflict and never dealing with it but helping people forgive one another. He also writes that accepting others is not the same as forgiving them either. We all need to accept people because of the good they are to us but we also have to forgive them for the unacceptable things they have done to us. We don’t have to tolerate everything someone does to us, even though we forgive them.  
   It is most difficult to forgive people we cannot see or touch like someone who has died as the reunion of coming together again will have to be fully completed in heaven. It is also hard to forgive people who don’t seem to care if we forgive them or not. Perhaps it is hardest for us to forgive ourselves or God. But whenever there is need of forgiveness, we each need to see what we’ve done through the eyes of the other, that we enter into their suffering, that we confess our sin and that we desire not to hurt them again. Let us not stop short by just excusing or smoothing over or putting things under the rug but forgiving as the Lord forgave us.  
  Challenge for today: Memorize and put into practice Eph. 4:32, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy