Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:32, NLT

Forgive. Is there any word that humbles our spirits more than this one? Forgive means I have to let go of something my ego wanted me to put up on a marquis for all the world to see. After all, I was hurt and the pain just never goes away. Why should I forgive? Isn’t forgiveness a bit like putting salt in a wound?

Forgiven. Wow! There it is, the addition of one little letter “n” and things start to turn around. I was wrong, but I was forgiven. Whew! Now I can try again, try to do better next time. Try to become more of the person I really want to be.

In my new book, Strength for Your Soul, I wrote a piece on forgiveness that I’d like to share with you. It goes like this:

“Issues around forgiveness may cause your heart sadness, or even make you fearful. You may have people that still cause you to grow angry as you think of them. Something they did that offended you or wounded your pride way back when, wounds you again with each thought as the incident comes freshly to mind. You imagine that it’s no big deal because it happened years ago.

The thing is that any sense of unforgiveness that lingers in your soul causes you pain. It shrinks your spirit and it takes away your peace. It has power over you that does not serve you well. So what can you do?

Start by recalling all the times that God has forgiven you. It may take awhile to create a laundry list of your offenses, but it could be time well spent. After all, you want to seek God’s forgiveness so that those errors of judgment, those unkind deeds, or angry words can be wiped away, expunged from your record. God wants you to forgive others the same way that He forgives you…which is fully, unconditionally, and forever. Be free and be kind, not just to others, but to yourself. Forgiveness brings healing to your heart and peace to your soul.