Anyway, my intent to is to keep these in a common area like the kitchen or living room of our home. Sometimes when we are getting so frustrated with each other, the kids are fighting, one is mad at you that it's time to clean up, you are angry that they won't obey, sometimes the best thing to do is just stop the argument or the tension in the air with a hug and say "I am sorry" or "I forgive you". Amazing what wonders three little words can do to change BOTH hearts. These are nice little reminders about what love can do and how we are supposed to treat one another regardless of circumstances. How much easier to hand over this little card to make peace...
The really important part is the "I FORGIVE YOU". You really ARE still in jail if you don't forgive, letting seeds of bitterness grow. And how wise it is to extend forgiveness first if you can, rather than waiting for an apology; when you do that, you choose peace.
Two really great books I've read relating to forgiveness, the first is "What's So Amazing About Grace?" by Philip Yancey. All people should read this book (IMHO) it is one of my favorites. You WILL be blessed by it. I read it about five years ago and have bought many copies for others. It is a great one to reread from time to time even if we understand the message and examine if we've nevertheless allowed any areas of our hearts to harden. I was reminded I needed to just sit down and finish this project and post when I saw Gina share this quote from it recently "To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you." ~Philip Yancey. And that is one of the most key messages in this book, forgiveness doesn't erase the offense or make it right, but it's a CHOICE not to allow it to hurt YOU ANYMORE. (They are off our hook, but they aren't off God's. And that is from my Bible study this past year, but that is a whole other post!!)
The second I finished a couple weeks ago, "Gray Matter" * by David Levy, a neurosurgeon who took a leap of faith and began praying openly for all his patients before surgery and later with his colleagues as well. It was a huge risk for him to be open about his Christian faith in this kind of setting and admit that he didn't have all the answers as a top physician and needed help to be successful in surgery. The operation descriptions were fascinating (did you know now they most often enter the brain though your THIGH and use springs and GLUE to fix aneurysms?) and the numerous accounts of how not only surgeries were successful but how those prayers transformed people's lives (the patient, their families, and hospital workers) are uplifting and a testimony to the power of prayer. He also discusses many patients who would not have benefited from surgery yet had chronic or life long health troubles to whom he gently suggested perhaps there were people in their pasts or present who needed to be forgiven, citing how many health issues and pain are related to the kind of stress that is the result of a broken heart. One line that stood out to me was this: "Bitterness is like drinking poison and hoping someone else will die." Whoa! (he says this to the reader, not the patient) Through prayer he was able to help these patients forgive as well as seek forgiveness for their own sins and receive Christ as their savior. Miraculous changes occurred immediately in both their attitudes and health through these simple acts of unloading those burdens, like removing great weight both physically and spiritually. Many parts moved me to tears, and, not surprisingly all these experiences completely transformed and blessed Dr. Levy's life and work as well.
I pray this message touches your spirit today and puts someone on your heart you can forgive or may need a little help forgiving you or someone else! God bless!
*I downloaded this for free at the time on my Kindle, it is now 9.68 for the Kindle version which I've linked, but you could get a hard copy or find at your local library as well. There are so many FREE terrific Christian reads offered on Kindle all the time, I highly recommend purchasing one! :)