It has been awhile since we have visited. I have had a chance to visit with old friends and family and have just been reminded constantly this summer of how enjoyable it is to be connected to people. And in that joy, there are still always challenges. As some friends and I passionately discussed parenting, life, and faith, I was quickly reminded of a free gift we all possess and can give away. Forgiveness.

To many, it is just a word in a phrase. We often throw it around without a care. But to truly forgive releases healing and life. Some things are easier to forgive than others, true. But all things are forgivable. No really; they are.

“But you don’t know what I did,” you say.

It doesn’t matter.

“What about what they did?”

It hurts, but it can be forgiven.

Is it possible that relationships may have to change? Sure. But true forgiveness, even in that relational shift, can breathe life to both parties.

Think back on a time when you forgave someone who possibly didn’t deserve it. How did you feel before you were able to forgive? How did you feel after you forgave them? Now ponder on the following: something you need to be forgiven for, someone you need to forgive, and how you will approach those situations. It’s hard to ask for forgiveness, but as you look at times past when you received grace and forgiveness, focus on the freedom. The freedom that comes from knowing someone has forgiven you can’t be matched by anything you could get in this world. The freedom you forgive from releasing someone for wronging you releases the same life and energy back into the world.

I want to challenge you to go to someone you may have offended, and ask for forgiveness. It might not be easy, but it surely is worth it. Even if they aren’t able to forgive you now, give it time. Just admiring you need to ask begins the healing process. If someone asked you for forgiveness that you weren’t able to give, search your heart and find a way. Go to them, and tell them you forgive them. Freely you have received, and freely you should give. There is nothing but good that can come from a lifestyle of forgiveness.  I will leave you with this thought from a dear friend. until next time my friends….

To apologize is to forgive.

To say I am sorry is to say that my pride is not more important than the feeling my words or actions created.

To recognize the pain of others and apologize speaks to the brokenness of others.

My apology isn’t to shut down your thoughts and feelings.

My apology is to open the door to forgiveness.

Forgiveness speaks to the right you have to heal.

To no longer be defined by the past and mistakes placed on you by those who should be there to protect and speak life into you.

-Laura Lynd