Day 16 - Walking In Forgiveness
21 Day Challenge - Through The Holidays
I have not had many issues with managing relationships over the holidays. But I do remember an incident that happened a few years ago. It was our first Christmas away from our children. They were all in the USA and we, just my husband and I, were in Uganda.
In the USA and Canada, there is a lot of hustle and bustle over the Christmas holidays. Everyone is shopping. And the men are waiting until the last day to go shopping. At least that was how it was most of the time at our house. My husband’s norm was to make a date to go shopping with our daughter on the Saturday before Christmas, or even on Christmas Eve. Then he would buy something for me and have her wrap it. I bought presents for everyone else in the family. All the rest of the shopping and most of the wrapping and whatever was needed for gifts was done. And the wrapped gifts were out where everyone could see.
My husband loved presents; he was always one of those feeling and shaking and trying to figure out what was in his package.
In Uganda, most of the people we knew did not celebrate Christmas with anything more than a special dinner with their family. The other missionaries there advised us to not do much decorating or make a show of gifts, to avoid making our Ugandan friends feel bad for not having what we had. So, I didn’t. I had a couple of nativity sets I had got there and put them out. There was a little silver tinsel with it, and that was about it. I bought gifts for my husband and kept them in the bedroom closet. We were invited to go to the other missionary’s home for dinner. I made the homemade whole wheat buns and some other special dishes. Otherwise, there was not much sign of “Christmas at our house.”
We began our morning with our usual Christmas morning tradition. We had a simple breakfast that I only had to heat. Then we read the Christmas story from Luke 2. Then we brought the gifts out to open. Only there were no gifts for me.
No one else was shopping on Christmas Eve, and my husband had forgotten to go Christmas shopping for me. Totally.
I was crushed. I felt so forgotten. I couldn’t believe it! We had had 30 Christmases together; he had never forgotten me before!
He felt terrible. I’m not sure if I had a good reaction to this situation at that moment. At least I know I did not say, “I am getting a ticket to the USA and not coming back.” I accepted his apology.
But the wrong I did was to complain to at least two or three people about it. Thank God, he forgives my transgressions. When we forgive someone, it doesn’t help the relationship for us to complain about whatever it was we forgave. So, stop it!!
Deal with it as an understanding adult as much as possible. Believe the best about the person that wrongs you. Unless that person tells you themselves that their feelings for you have changed, don’t assume they have. Believe they love you as much as ever and love them back as if nothing wrong had been done. If a slight occurs, forgive.
Mark 11:25-26 “And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
Remember all of the good things that have previously been part of that relationship.
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
I will say that I probably got more in “late Christmas gifts” than I ever would have if he hadn’t forgotten. Not quite the same, but I could tell he felt terrible about forgetting.
Believing the best about someone is the way to maintain relationships. Are you able to do this without first accusing someone or thinking the worst?
The most important thing is to keep our hearts right toward God. To do this we must forgive if we want his forgiveness. God bless you all. I know this can be hard.
Answer these in the comments below:
Have you ever felt someone in your family or close friends showed by their actions that their feelings had changed because of something they did or did not do? Were you able to think on the good things? The pure, the true, the lovely, the honest and just things? Were you able to think of something praiseworthy or virtuous? If you weren’t able to do it before, will you be able to do it this holiday season? Think on these things.