First of all let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and peaceful new year, and also I would like to say a huge thank you for all the good wishes and cards I have received from you all, as I celebrated my 70th birthday at the end of December. What a truly wonderful extended family I am blessed with.
So here we all are starting a brand-new year, with all the blessings of new beginnings. But to make a new start you and I have to be able to take a huge step by leaving the old behind. When we do this, we have to incorporate forgiveness otherwise we are only paying lip service to the task. Let me share with you this anonymous testimony
‘For many years I could not comprehend the nature of forgiveness. I grew up believing that your ability to forgive was a testimony of how enlightened you were on your spiritual path and that, as Indira Ghandi said, “Forgiveness is a virtue of the brave”. Furthermore, I believed that forgiveness was something you resorted to when crimes or serious sins had been committed. I admired people who could forgive perpetrators because I wasn’t sure that, given the nature of some crimes, I could find it in me to do the same.
What I had not yet understood was that forgiveness is not an exceptional moral trait for exceptional circumstances, it is a decision we make in our everyday life. My biggest misconception was to think that it was about doing something really difficult for the benefit of the person who wronged us. I was completely mistaken. Forgiving has nothing to do with that person but everything to do with us. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgiveness was the essential first step that allowed me to start my healing process and to start anew, to give myself the opportunity for a new beginning’
So how can we do this? The bible has a lot to say about forgiveness and new beginnings, but I will simplify it by just looking at:
2 Corinthians 5:17: ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!’
Colossians 3:13: ‘Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.’
We must understand and appreciate that forgiveness kills bitterness and resentment. Forgiving someone else is freeing. It allows us to break those chains of thought that have been weighing us down. If we are not able to forgive someone, it forever becomes something that we cannot bear.
If you would like to explore this topic a little more, why not join me on Wednesday 8th January 2-4pm in St Katharine’s Church. Come for a short time or a little longer, when we will look at some more bible readings, we will listen to some music, we will share a cuppa and we will pray together.
Once again let me wish you all a happy new year. May it bring peace, may it bring happiness but most of all may it bring contentment to you and those whom you love.