Dear Ones,
Hope you have a blessed day! I plan to bake cookies and do food prep before going to Exercise class, crafts this afternoon and Bible study tonight. Our grandson, Joe, stopped over last night so was glad to be able to send his birthday cake home with him. It could be that we will be getting a new floor today, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  I was reading on forgiveness by Lewis Smedes, and it is taking me into new depths of what it means to be forgiven as well as forgiving others. The truth is we all have been sinned against and wounded and we have also hurt others in ways we may not even be consciously aware of. So, the bottom line is that we all need to experience the miracle of forgiveness and to be forgiving. When we come to the place that we know we need forgiveness as much as the other, it becomes easier to forgive. And when we understand some of what is going on in the other person who hurt us, it may help us forgive. We may not end up being the best friends again, but we can be with them in groups and wish them well, and it may not happen overnight but takes time.

  Sometimes we still feel angry after forgiving and the enemy will try to tell us we have failed and have not forgiven. But when we forgive, it doesn’t mean we change the facts and erase the hurtful past but rather our hurt for the person is healed. We can be angry and not hate. It happens to people who divorce who finally get to the place they can wish their ex well in their marriage. Smedes says that anger minus malice gives hope. If we choose to hang on to our malice than it keeps our pain alive. He gives suggestions that help us drain the poison of malice from our hearts, like being specific about it and even express it to God and maybe to someone else who can help us get rid of it. We can, of course, give the person over to the Lord and let God handle him. If they need rescuing from their own wicked ways, let God do the teaching. We can also pray for the peace of the person and let our anger do a work of reforming.

It helps to remember that we that we can’t erase the past, we can only heal the pain it has left behind!  And in the forgiving, we are focused on what they did, not on who they are. We may also forgive in bits and pieces and it must be done freely. We can’t force someone to forgive as it may actually make it worse. Like Smedes said, that to set anyone free, forgiving must be freely given as an act of free love. We don’t know how they will respond and it must all be left in God’s hands. But when we feel unconditionally forgiven, we will know we are totally loved and affirmed and received. Nothing can separate us from Him who is love!

Challenge for today : Ask the Lord to forgive you when you can’t seem to forgive someone…then wait for Him to release your heart to love and forgive.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy