“To love means loving the unlovable. To forgive means pardoning the unpardonable. Faith means believing the unbelievable. Hope means hoping when everything seems hopeless.”
― G.K. Chesterton

forgiveness

If there’s anything we need more of in our homes, in our relationships, and in our world, it’s forgiveness.  We’re surrounded by conflict, anger,  hurt feelings, and difficult relationships.  We need a few courageous people to show us what it’s like to be forgiving.  I grew up in a house where forgiveness was the norm, so I’m one of the lucky ones.  I never saw grudge holding or name calling or any of the kind of bitterness that tears families apart. I honestly can’t remember my mom speaking negatively or in anger towards the people in her life.  Only now do I realize how rare a gift that is and how hard it is to actually do on a daily basis.  It takes real courage—the kind of courage that most of us haven’t seen very much in action.  Because you can preach all the sermons you want to your kids about their behavior, but in the end, they’ll probably do what you do—a sobering thought for most of us, or at least for me.

When Stevie and I first got married, we very rarely fought, but when we did, it would last for days.  Days of misery, silence, and heartache.  It was so hard for us to say I’m sorry.  Why is it so hard to confess our faults to others? Why would we rather hold onto the misery of broken relationships?  Because we like to be right.  And we want justice more than we want love.  But if we’re honest with ourselves, we really don’t want to get what we deserve.  We want the people in our life to give us the benefit of the doubt, to be gracious to us, to know us so well that they know what we meant to do or say.  After 13 years of marriage, I can tell you that we have learned to give each other the gift of forgiveness.  A few months ago, we exchanged some unkind words before he left for work and he called me on the way to work to apologize.  His willingness to be vulnerable, to be wrong, was such an act of love to me and it inspires me to do the same for him. It takes courage to forgive.

“Forgiving is love’s toughest work, and love’s biggest risk.  If you twist it into something it was never meant to be, it can make you a doormat or an insufferable manipulator.  Forgiving seems almost unnatural.  Our sense of fairness tells us people should pay for the wrong they do.  But forgiving is love’s power to break nature’s rule.”  ~Lewis B. Smedes

It is life’s toughest work, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t come easy.  Cultivating a spirit of forgiveness in your home will take time and real effort and patience.

Do your children find it easy to confess their wrongdoing to you or do they hide their faults?    Are you quick to say I’m sorry and quick to forgive or do you hold on to wrong done toward you for far too long?  Sew the seeds of forgiveness in your life and you will find that what blooms in your own heart will be rare and beautiful. Holding onto bitterness chokes out joy and forgiveness is the key to unlocking peace, harmony, and love in your life.  What is choking out your joy today?

Day 3 Assignment:  We’ve all been on the receiving end of wrongdoing and sometimes that wrongdoing is incomprehensible. For most of us though, the offenses done to us by others on a daily basis are minor.  But when those build for weeks and months and years, they become toxic and not dealing with it now sets you up for unexpected outbursts of anger and resentment later.  Someone has probably already come to mind that you need to forgive or that you need to *let off the hook*.   Identify one person who has wronged you and become a source of bitterness in your life.  Write a letter detailing what you are angry about and how that hurt you.  End the letter by writing down how you intend to let go of your bitterness, and by telling that person you will be praying for them daily.  Don’t send the letter, but make a commitment to pray for that person everyday this month.

Be sure to read Ruth’s Day 3,  on Less Bitterness

forgiveness

We couldn’t be happier to have Crystal Paine of Money Saving Mom  joining our challenge this month!  Be sure to check out her wisdom and insight on  less fear and more courage from yesterday’s challenge.

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Who needs the gift of your forgiveness today?

Continue the series with Day 4: Less Comparison, More Self-Confidence.

23 comments on “31 Days of Less and More, Day 3 {More Forgiveness}”

  1. I have to be careful what time of day I read these posts of yours. xoxo Is it better to cry early in the morning or in the afternoon, or when? The forgiveness you challenge here is the perfect companion to the courage you challenged yesterday. Wow. Keep writing, ladies.

  2. I’m loving this!

    I was listening to a recent podcast about forgiveness and it was mentioned that sometimes when you are angry you just want the other person to (like your quote above) “PAY for the wrong” they did. The speaker went on to say that someone DID PAY, and that was Jesus Christ. I love thinking of it that way because when you think of how Jesus paid for all of our sins, and bring Christ into it, it puts the situation in perspective and makes forgiving the other person that much easier.

  3. Love this quote. I want to hang it on my wall as a daily reminder. It is often so hard to truly forgive. Why is is that our sinful selves prefer to hold onto the toxic, instead of obeying our Heavenly Father? It is for our own health and peace.

  4. I have struggled this year to forgive my mother for an attitude and an action that she did very recently, and, honestly, I wanted to make her be sorry. I felt angry all over again when she wasn’t…. Forgiving someone when they do not admit wrong – this is key to living free of resentment. With God’s help, I am walking out forgiveness.

  5. Wow, this is one of my very, very favorite posts of all times! Thank you for the beautiful words Edie! The timing and truth of this post could not have been timed more perfectly!

  6. OH Edie, you always know how to say everything with such race and perfection. I’ve struggled in this area lately. Feeling wronged again and again by the same person in my life. The one person who seems to be the common denominator or wedge in my marriage. It’s so hard to forgive when we see no end to the behavior. But…I know I must!! Thanks for such a well written post, I’m sure we can all use it. Love Love Love that pic of you and Stevie. 🙂 xo, Jess

  7. I have to remember that everyone, myself included, is spiritually challenged. My husband put it best when he shares on this subject. He says, when I am wrong or have harmed you, I want you to understand. I want mercy. However, when YOU are wrong, I want justice! Resentment is the number one offender. All forms of spiritual dis-ease stem from it. When I get angry, the curtain drops. I am disconnected from God. I have to ask Him to save me from being angry. Over & over. And remember that the other person is doing their very best at this moment in time and space. I am really enjoying what you two are writing.
    And I too, love the picture of you and your husband 🙂

  8. I really like the angle that you’ve taken with your series of less and more. I feel that the less angle has been overdone to the degree a person could feel easily guilt ridden even if they’re not. Yes, I believe it’s an important point to make but I like that you turned it on its ear to present a different route towards the expectant increase of the characteristics that we need to embrace more of in life.

  9. Oh Edie… You steal these words right from my heart! As my husband and I approach our 10 year anniversary this coming January, I’ve been thinking lately about what marriage is REALLY about. I was planning a blog post on this and everything, because I’ve recently had an epiphany {yep, it only took TEN years!!}: marriage is about forgiveness. Not romance, not love at first sight, none of those things, but it’s about learning to forgive. You HAVE to learn it eventually, if you are to have a good marriage with Christ in the center. It’s like God’s ultimate love language toward us, forgiveness.

    Looking back on the past {almost, come January} ten years, I’ve come to realize that I need to get forgiveness, and I need to give forgiveness. {I often fail at both, lesson has been learned, now if I can just put it into practice…maybe in another 10 years I’ll have that figured out?} And I think I need to give it for myself just as much, if not more, than anyone needs it from me. Does that even make sense? We hurt ourselves by withholding forgiveness. And few things can demonstrate God’s love toward us so beautifully as forgiveness toward our loved ones. Anyhoo…

    You hit the nail on the head!

    Cheers,
    Heather @ http://www.larkandlola.com

  10. I have been working hard on forgiveness lately.
    I mean…. really hard.
    This post (and this whole series) is so timely for me
    and I can already see HUGE blessings from it.

    Thank you for all the time and thought you have
    obviously put into this month long course.

    I’m so happy to have just found you.

    Many blessings to you,

    Chasity

  11. This is a daily struggle for me as I tend to let small things build up, and in doing so that weed of resentment and bitterness grows ever stronger. Forgiving must be done daily, it is a choice and it benefits You more than the other person.

  12. ‘we want justice more than we want love’

    Thanks so much for this Edie. This line jumped out the page out me and I’ve kept going back to it over the last few days. This is so true of me lately – I’ve wanted justice in my relationships more than I’ve wanted love. God has been speaking to me about love lately but until I read this I hadn’t linked it with the relationship I’m struggling with at the moment. Now to act on it – doh! Thank you.

  13. I am really enjoying this 31 day study so far. You girls are doing a great job! It is very enlightening and well written. I am taking many notes and plan to go through them monthly. You should make this into a devotional that can be repeated each month. I will be posting a post soon about how much I have been learning from this. Thanks for the time you put into this is it definitely worth it!

  14. Thank you for keeping this series available!
    I need to forgive myself for letting fear rule my life since my mother died way back in 1967. I pray that I can enjoy all the blessings God gives me single everyday with a whole heart.

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