Friday, December 24, 2010

The Gift without Price

“Let us forgive each other - only then will we live in peace.”
-- Leo Tolstoy

"Without forgiveness there is no future."
-- Archbishop Desmond Tutu
In this season of bright bows and colorful packages, it is easy to forget the gift without price.  Forgiveness is the gift that costs us nothing other than letting go of our angers and hurts.  This year I was gifted with forgiveness of my darkest moment.  It was an unexpected and magnificent gift that washed away years of guilt and self-condemnation.  It set me free of the past.

The extreme generosity of this gift lifted my heart and made me want to be equally generous with forgiving all my real and perceived wrongs and injuries.  However, even with the example and leadership of Jesus, whose birthday much of the world celebrates tomorrow, forgiveness is not easy.  I find myself in one particular instance holding onto the past, turning our dark history around and around as if looking at and polishing each facet of a valuable gemstone.  Why is it so important to continue to feel wronged?  Why am I reveling so in my own "rightness?"

In this instance, forgiveness has not been requested so I know that, if I can make the choice to forgive, the primary gift will be to myself.  In searching the Internet for ideas on forgiveness, I found the following from Larry James
Forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself. It is not something you do FOR someone else. It is not complicated. It is simple. Simply identify the situation to be forgiven and ask yourself: "Am I willing to waste my energy further on this matter?" If the answer is "No," then that's it! All is forgiven.

Forgiveness is an act of the imagination. It dares you to imagine a better future, one that is based on the blessed possibility that your hurt will not be the final word on the matter. It challenges you to give up your destructive thoughts about the situation and to believe in the possibility of a better future. It builds confidence that you can survive the pain and grow from it. 
I can do this.  I will let go of this hurt.  I will forgive.

I invite you to join me in finding one wrong to forgive in this season of love and forgiveness.

May all your holidays be joyful and safe.


  1. This is a wonderful post, Joyceann. (I tweeted it.) The James' quote has got it exactly.

    In appreciation of your friendship and wonderful words. Merry Christmas!

  2. Excellent! For further reading, consider the works of Dr. Neil Anderson.

    This is how I taught on the issue:

    Jack and Mary were married for 15 years. Then Jack left Mary for his secretary. Ten years go by and Mary is a dried up prune, steeped in bitterness. Jack is on the back nine. Who has the problem? Mary, of course. Forgiveness is the purposeful willingness to live with the consequences of other people's actions without bitterness or recrimination. A drunk swerves into your lane. What did you do wrong. Nothing. But the drunk walked away from the accident and you will spend the rest of your life in a wheelchair. Both of you have a problem but whose problem can you control? What did Jesus do wrong? Nothing. On His throne, I believe Jesus still has pierced hands, feet and side. We can be eternally grateful that Jesus is purposefully willing to live (without bitterness or recrimination)with the consequences of other people's actions.

    Verbosity is a wonderful thing! Merry Christmas!


  3. Beautiful, Joyce; thanks so much for this...