Dear Ones,
Hope your Christmas was a time of joy! Our hearts are full as we had a wonderful time together with family. Today will be catch up and the house is already full of aroma as I started a meal in the oven.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  When I read the book, Forgive and Forget by Professor Lewis Smedes, I found he goes deeper into what true forgiveness really is and what it is not. It doesn’t seem fair that we should forgive someone that has done something so horrible as a Jewish man who was asked to forgive a Polish soldier. He was in a concentration camp and taken to the bedside of one of the German wounded soldiers who was dying. The soldier wanted to ask forgiveness of a Jew before he died, for he had crowded 200 Jews into a house and then blew it up and shot all who tried to escape. It doesn’t seem fair for someone to happily kill so many people and then simply ask for forgiveness so he can die in peace.  We may ask ourselves, why do we have to forgive someone and then suffer again by also blessing the person?
  But the alternative to forgiving is when we refuse to forgive and want revenge, to get even in some way. We want them to experience the pain they caused us. But the truth is we can never really even the score. When we retaliate, we may think we evened the score but the other person feels his pain is greater and so it never balances out. When we harbor hate it will sap our strength and energy and leave us weak and in pain.

   Smedes goes on to say that forgiveness gives the power to move us away from the past pain, and to free us from the endless chain of reactions, thereby creating a new situation where both the wrong doer and the one wronged can begin a new way. They have an opportunity to be reconciled and end the cycle of hate. Yes, forgiveness seems unfair to the people doing the forgiving, but we lose when we play the “get even” game, the game that will only cause the hurt to stay with us longer. Redemptive remembering is a healing way. We keep a clear picture in our mind of the past, but it then shifts our focus on love emerging from the ashes and hope for the future. Jesus said in Luke 6:37, Forgive and you will be forgiven.”

Challenge for today: Forgive without weighing the scales but out of gratitude for what the Lord has
 forgiven you.
Blessings on your day and prayers and love, Judy