In the midst of the fun festivities of the holiday season we are often met with mixed emotions in regards to the people with whom we are compelled to engage because of those festivities. Many of us have harbored feelings of bitterness or resentment towards one or more family members that have caused undue hurt on us individually or collectively as a family. Having forced interactions with those people each year doesn’t seem to help but rather to re-infect a wound that has yet to heal. As followers of Christ, however, there is hope in a new way forward. The answer that Jesus gives us is to forgive. The act of forgiveness is not encouraged as a response to any person’s merit to receive it but rather the model of grace and mercy that God extended to us first. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (Eph. 4:32)”. “Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Col. 3:13)”.

  If we want to show the light of Christ during this holiday season (and all year round) we need to
manage those areas of unforgiveness that are being harbored in our own hearts regardless of the
response of others. This does not excuse the offense but rather frees you! Christ died to set us free
from the chains of sin and bondage that Satan wants to see us enslaved by and we are willing
participants if we continue to live in those places of hurt.

  How do we do this exactly? We start by confessing the hurt that we have experienced to God and
also make a decision to start on the path of forgiveness, as it is a journey. We work at processing our
hurt by asking God to heal our hearts and show us His, and also engage in dialogue with those we trust (whether personal friends or professionals). We realize that relationships are built on trust and we need to “guard our hearts (Prov. 4:23)” as we reengage. The relationship(s) may look different moving forward but God will be honored and you will receive greater freedom as you walk down the  path of healing.

Authored by Katie Rivera of The Baton Pass