For the Holidays….Forgiveness

       One way to decrease the stress of the holiday season is to FORGIVE anyone who you feel has hurt you. 
 When we forgive others, we free ourselves from the bitterness, pain and negativity that comes from harboring un-forgiveness. This holiday season, why not CHOOSE to forgive those who have hurt you and free yourself to enjoy your holiday season!
I pray this article I wrote will help you with that process! 
F acets  of G raciousness~Forgiveness
In January I began a series on The Facets of Graciousness, which are (having or showing) kindness, courtesy, charm, compassion, forgiveness, love, charity, politeness, goodwill, mercy and tenderness. We have covered Courtesy, Compassion and Kindness, today I’d like to share about Forgiveness.
Forgive: to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; to pardon an offense or the offender; to cancel a debt
Forgiveness. Is that a word that puts a lump in your throat and a knot in your stomach? I must confess…there was a time in my life when it did that to me and honestly, sometimes it still does! It’s a horrible feeling…the feeling that someone has hurt you or deceived you or let you down in some way…and now you are supposed to forgive them?! Forgiveness is not something I ever felt like doing but at some point in my life, many years ago, I realized that the only person suffering from my unforgiveness was me! I also realized a few other things about forgiveness that I want to share with you in the hope that it will help you to choose to forgive and move on and to help you avoid the horrible side effects of UN-forgiveness!

Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling or an emotion. Forgiving someone is something we do on purpose, it is a conscious choice we make. When we forgive someone for something they have said or done, we must do so without expecting that hurt or wrong to be corrected or even apologized for.
Forgiveness is an extension of mercy (a disposition to forgive or be kind; the power to forgive) and an act of grace. Forgiveness is not necessarily forgetting-but it is choosing to not replay the offense over and over again. It is choosing to not bring the offense up or to use it against someone. Forgiveness is choosing to not talk about the offense to others or to allow the offense to hinder a relationship.
When we forgive others (and ourselves) we release the hold of 
bitterness, anger and resentment on our own life…on our own heart. Bitterness, anger and resentment bring with them their own set of miseries including sickness and disease.
When we struggle with forgiveness it is not a matter of our ability to forgive, but rather a matter of our willingness to forgive. Being willing to forgive means we are choosing to not be imprisoned by our negative emotions or the hurtful words and actions of others. We are freeing ourselves!
When we choose to forgive, we must give up our thoughts of justice, revenge and vengeance. We don’t always forgive someone because they deserve it, we forgive because it’s the right thing to do. I forgive because God’s word tells me that if I am not willing to forgive then I cannot be forgiven. (Mark 11:25, Matthew 6:14-16)
When it comes right down to it…we should forgive others because we ourselves need to be forgiven! I don’t know about you, but I know I have said and done many things in my lifetime both intentional and unintentional, that have required forgiveness from both the person(s) I offended and from my Heavenly Father. There are many times that I know I did not deserve forgiveness and yet it was mercifully extended to me anyway and I am extremely grateful for that.
One thing that helps me to put it all in perspective is The Golden Rule, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” It is a good rule to live by and when I do it reduces the amount of times I need to be forgiven and it helps me to make the choice to forgive. Is there someone you need to choose to forgive today? Are you willing to forgive? I encourage you to set yourself free today by forgiving anyone who has hurt you or wronged you. 
You will be amazed at the weight that will be lifted off of you!
Wishing you Blessings & Beauty~

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