Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! Hope you have time to get refueled and rested. This morning Ann Marie and Paul are coming, and we are going to celebrate Paul’s birthday early. I am making a breakfast meal with pumpkin pancakes and bacon, fruit, etc. as Paul is just getting off work from the night shift. We will have cake too!
Devotions from Judy’s heart
  After we come to know the Lord’s forgiveness of all we have ever done, we must learn to forgive others. Of course, we have all been wounded by others and often our first reaction is to desire that they suffer and feel the hurt we feel and are punished. But forgiveness is not justice and fairness, but about healing and the way to freedom. If we refuse to forgive it only prolongs our hurt but when we forgive, we are the prisoner that is set free.
  In James Smith book he tells of a boy, Stan, who was raped as a young boy, and later tried to commit suicide. But he went for help and was counseled and prayed for by Smith and came to know the Lord, he wanted to forgive the man who had done this to him. He found the man and   told him God had forgiven him and he forgave him also. It resulted that this man wanted to know more about the Lord’s forgiveness and Stan experienced a new freedom.
  Just as we have been forgiven, we are to forgive one another. (Eph. 4;23) If we refuse to forgive then we don’t realize how much we have been forgiven. Yes, they have hurt us, but forgiveness is all about relinquishing them from the debt. They may never seek our forgiveness, but we forgive without strings attached. Just like Stan who forgave the man who raped him before his perpetrator felt remorse or wanted to change.
 Smith also speaks of forgiveness as allowing God to use whatever has happened to us to be a means of growth. We know only He can take what is evil and bring something good of it. We have so many examples in scripture and for one, just think how Joseph suffered at the hands of his brothers.  Even though they intended him harm God worked it for good as Joseph saved them all during the famine.
  We would all love that our offender would feel bad at how he had wounded us, but even if he doesn’t desire to be forgiven, we need to forgive so that we can be set free. We are releasing the debt and sometimes we may not be sure if we have truly forgiven them. One indicator is that we don’t get all upset when we remember the memory of what they did to us. Or another sign is if we can actually wish them well. Like Smith writes, “Love for one another leads us to cover their sins.” And what follows is that we are set free!
Challenge for today: If a hurtful memory comes to mind, ask the Lord for grace to forgive and release the person from the hurt they caused us.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy