Dear Ones,
Happy weekend to you! I woke to fresh snow today and looks more like winter now. I plan to clean and bake today. I am blessed by so many of you answering the questions I sent out yesterday as you start the New Year. So neat as the words given were all different for each of us.
Devotions from Judy’s heart
 Freedom is many things and as I concluded reading Lewis Smedes book on Forgive and Forget, I see how forgiving is freeing and much stronger than hating. Hate may give us energy for a time as we think of how to get even with someone that hurt us but when the ordeal is over, it leaves us weaker than before and saps our energy. Forgiving on the other hand has many strengths which Smedes names and helps us to see.
  Forgiving equips us with realism by helping us to face what really happened, and calling the evil what it is, rather than masking it and not dealing with it.  Forgiving is also confrontational as we let the person know that what they did was wrong. We can’t completely forgive if we don’t face up to what the person did and let them know how it hurt us. Forgiving is also freedom as we can choose to begin again with someone who has hurt us or even live with an uneven score. Forgiving is not forced as no one else can make us forgive.
  Smedes also recounts that Love is the ultimate power behind forgiveness. That doesn’t mean we are pushovers that people just walk over, but we respect ourselves enough to set limits on what we allow others to do to us. We also refuse to falsely blame ourselves for what they did to us. When we love and respect others, we let them be accountable for their own actions. As we love someone and are committed to them, we may get hurt again but we don’t give up but forgive again.
  But if we are truthful with ourselves, there is good and bad in each of us and we are not as innocent as we may think. Sometimes we set ourselves up to be hurt by our attitude or actions. We can even ask ourselves, if we were in their circumstance, would we do any better or would we possibly do what they did. There but for the grace of God go I. As it says in Col. 3:13 that we are to bear with one another, forgiving one another as the Lord has forgiven us.
   Let us freely forgive that a new beginning would be created for them and for us.
 Challenge for today: When vindictive feelings come for someone who has hurt you, pause and thank the Lord He has forgiven you, and then forgive that other person.
Blessings on your weekend and prayers and love, Judy