Sharing the Journey

Twelve Gifts of Christmas – Day 3

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Today's Gift

Give up your place.

Today is a day for stepping aside and letting others go before you. Let people go ahead of you in line. Give motorists extra room to merge into your lane of traffic. Park your vehicle farther away from the store, and let God decide who will get the closer parking space that you've left vacant.

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Twelve Gifts of Christmas – Day 2

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Today's Gift

Give honor to those who serve you.

Notice the personhood of the people who serve you today—the waitress, the bank teller, the coffee barista, the grocery clerk, the office secretary, the crossing guard. Give them a friendly word, call them by name if you can, and thank them for helping you.

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Twelve Gifts of Christmas

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Today's Gift

Give others the benefit of the doubt.

Too often we assume that we know a person's thoughts or motives. Wrong negative assumptions can easily lead to hurt or angry feelings and escalate a conflict. For today, suspend negative assumptions and give people the benefit of the doubt.

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Practical Forgiveness – Practice 10

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Depend on God.

Forgiveness has been called an unnatural act. We humans instinctively hunger for justice that balances a wrongful deed with punishment that fits the crime. To forgo our right to vengeance seems to work against our very nature, yet it fits God’s nature perfectly. When we seek to be like Jesus, the Spirit reshapes our desires with a new, divine nature that makes forgiveness and loving our enemies possible. God never calls us to an unnatural task like forgiving without giving us the grace and means to obey him.

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Practical Forgiveness – Practice 9

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Love because God loves.

When we surrender our relationships to the rule of love, God transforms our perceptions of the people who hurt and betray us. Instead of seeing enemies, we recognize fellow humans suffering in traps of sin and self-deception, much as we ourselves have suffered. God advances the kingdom of heaven through our offerings of love and forgiveness, especially to those who have set themselves against us. Instead of retaliating with harm as the world expects, we learn to soothe and heal and restore relationships with redemptive and holy love that flows through us from God’s own heart.

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Practical Forgiveness – Practice 8

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Imitate Christ.

We honor Christ when we follow his example and do good to those who harm us. When the world expects an evil response, goodness and love shine all the brighter, sometimes enough to pierce the toughest armor. We show kindness and generosity not because our adversary deserves them but because goodness is part of who we are in Christ. An important practice of forgiveness is to see through an offense to the person behind the behavior and ask, What good can I do for this person? No one needs grace more than a person who does not deserve it.

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Practical Forgiveness – Practice 7

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Humble yourself.

God’s grace is available to all but can fill only those who are emptied of themselves. Pride is an attachment to self that breeds jealousy, selfish ambition, and discord. A humble heart, on the other hand, is shaped by godly wisdom and seeks peace, good works, and fellowship with others. The humble are blessed because they know how to offer and receive forgiveness.

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Practical Forgiveness – Practice 6

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Commit to honesty.

Truth provides the only solid ground for rebuilding a damaged relationship. Refusing to acknowledge the truth about a hurtful event may seem protective at first but in the long run only postpones healing. Although full disclosure may not be necessary, we can make sure that the words we do speak are truthful and tempered with patience, gentleness, and respect for the person who receives them.

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Practical Forgiveness – Practice 5

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Encourage peacemaking.

As we approach the season of advent, we honor the Son who is called the Prince of Peace. For us, becoming like Jesus means living into peace and forgiveness as our preferred ways of handling relationships. Christ establishes his kingdom of peace through our daily encounters by infusing our ordinary deeds with God’s extraordinary grace. Because of Christ we can offer patience, kindness, love, and mercy to a world that expects judgment, bitterness, and retaliation for an injury suffered.

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Practical Forgiveness – Practice 4

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Speak carefully.

The gift of language is a serious responsibility. Our malicious words can sting and cripple worse than the proverbial sticks and stones. On the other hand, kind and forgiving words can encourage people and restore relationships. Our careful use of language can be especially powerful in conflict situations, where anger and insults may be expected. God will use our obedient mouths to speak love into the lives of those who need to hear it and restore damaged hearts in ways we cannot see.

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Bridge to the Past by Judith Ingram – Prologue by Judith Ingram

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A Devotional Walk With Forgiveness – Week 1 Day 1 by Judith Ingram

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Borrowed Promises by Judith Ingram – Chapter 1 by Judith Ingram

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