Shannon here: MaryAnn Diorio shares an insightful devotion, plus a chance to win a copy of her latest Christian Romantic Suspense Novel, Miracle in Milan. Comment to enter the drawing for winner’s choice of print or e-book. Deadline: Oct 23rd, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s MaryAnn:
Deck the Soul with Boughs of Forgiveness by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA
(AUTHOR’S NOTE: I originally wrote this article one Christmas, but I believe it applies throughout the year.)
CHRISTMAS! The word evokes many feelings, depending on our experiences. For some, Christmas is a happy time, filled with beautiful memories and joyful expectations. For others, Christmas is a depressing time, a season one wants “to get over with” as quickly as possible because of bad memories associated with this time of year.
Having ministered to people for many years, I have come to the conclusion that depressing memories at Christmas time are most often related to problems of unforgiveness. Hurts from the past become more pronounced during the Christmas season, but the reason those hurts still affect us is that we have not let go of the bitterness associated with them. In short, we have not forgiven the people who have hurt us.
Why do most people have such a difficult time forgiving? I believe the main reason is that they do not understand what forgiveness really means. If you are one of those people, what follows may help you:
LET’S LOOK AT WHAT FORGIVENESS IS NOT:
- Forgiveness is NOT letting someone off the hook.
- Forgiveness is NOT condoning evil.
- Forgiven is NOT being a doormat.
- Forgiveness is NOT having to trust again the person who hurt you.
- Forgiveness is NOT a feeling.
- Forgiveness is NOT an option.
NOW LET’S LOOK AT WHAT FORGIVENESS IS:
- Forgiveness IS taking the person who hurt you off of your hook and placing him on God’s hook, then praying that God will have mercy on him.
- Forgiveness IS acknowledging that evil was done but choosing to bear the consequences of that evil without retaliation.
- Forgiveness IS taking charge of your emotions.
- Forgiveness IS setting boundaries with the person who hurt you, even refusing temporary or permanent interaction with that person, if necessary. An example would be a wife who is being beaten by her husband.
- Forgiveness IS a decision.
- Forgiveness IS obedience to God’s commandment to forgive.
No matter how badly you have been hurt, choose to forgive. It’s the best thing you can do for your own well-being. Unforgiveness chains you emotionally to the person who hurt you. Forgiveness breaks that chain and sets you free.
What better time is there than the Christmas season to forgive those who have hurt us? The very essence of Christmas is the truth that God forgave humanity through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Who are we not to forgive when God has forgiven us?
So this Christmas, forgive! But don’t just forgive. Ask to be forgiven. As the Word of God tells us, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV). All of us need not only to forgive but also to be forgiven. And as long as we are on this earth, it is never too late to forgive or to be forgiven.
Copyright 2015-2021 by MaryAnn Diorio, PhD. All Rights Reserved.
About MaryAnn: MaryAnn Diorio is a widely published, award-winning author of five novels, two novellas, and eight children’s books. Her novel, In Black and White, won First Place in Historical Fiction in the 2020 Christian Indie Awards Contest. MaryAnn’s latest novel, Miracle in Milan, takes the reader on a tension-filled journey back to Italy, where her trilogy, The Italian Chronicles, also took place. MaryAnn is married to her awesome husband of 51 years. They have two amazing adult daughters, a very smart son-in-law, and six rambunctious grandchildren. When not writing, MaryAnn loves to read, paint in acrylics and oils, and play the piano and mandolin.
About the book – Miracle in Milan:
When a young, female auditor discovers convincing evidence that the man she loves is an embezzler, she must choose between ruining him or ruining herself.
Amy Torelli, Chief Auditor for New York City-based Enson Pharmaceuticals, is assigned to audit the books of Enson’s Italian branch in the enchanting city of Milan, Italy. Having made an inner vow never to trust a man again because of her father’s betrayal, Amy finds herself falling in love with Enson Italia’s American-born Vice-President, Ted McMasters. Will Ted be the one to cause her to break her inner vow?
Ted McMasters is on the run. A run from rejection. From himself. From God. Having been wounded by a father who made him feel worthless, and having been dumped by the woman he wanted to marry, Ted is determined to keep all women at bay. But will Amy be the reason he changes his mind?
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Question for Readers: This month my husband and I will celebrate 52 years of marriage. We’ve learned a lot about true love during those blessed years. How would you define love?
Come back for Sherry Kyle on Oct 19th!