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Dear Friends,

I love the Easter holiday and I absolutely love April. Spring is the season of renewal, growth, and new beginnings.

With new beginnings, I often think of what is coming and what’s ahead of me. I love the thought that - You can’t look forward if you are looking backward or behind you. This makes me think of the concept of forgiveness and why it is so important.

Forgiveness is a struggle for all of us at one time or another in our lives. Perhaps one of my favorite stories of forgiveness is an experience Corrie ten Boom, author of The Hiding Place had after she was released from the concentration camp. 

*It was in a church in Munich where I was speaking in 1947 that I saw him - a balding heavyset man in a gray overcoat, a brown felt hat clutched between his hands. One moment I saw the overcoat and the brown hat, the next, a blue uniform and a visored cap with its skull and crossbones.

Memories of the concentration camp came back with a rush: the huge room with its harsh overhead lights, the pathetic pile of dresses and shoes in the center of the floor, the shame of walking naked past this man. I could see my sister's frail form ahead of me, ribs sharp beneath the parchment of skin.

Betsie and I had been arrested for concealing Jews in our home during the Nazi occupation of Holland. This man had been a guard at Ravensbruck concentration camp where we were sent.

Now he was in front of me, hand thrust out: "A fine message, fraulein! How good it is to know that, as you say, all our sins are at the bottom of the sea!"

It was the first time since my release that I had been face-to-face with one of my captors and my blood seemed to freeze.

"You mentioned Ravensbruck in your talk," he was saying. "I was a guard there. But since that time," he went on, "I have become a Christian. I know that God has forgiven me for the cruel things I did there, but I would like to hear it from your lips as well. Fraulein - "again the hand came out - "will you forgive me?"

And I stood there - and could not. Betsie had died in that place - could he erase her slow terrible death simply for the asking?

But forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.

It could not have been many seconds that he stood there, hand held out, but to me it seemed hours as I wrestled with the most difficult thing I had ever had to do.

For I had to do it - I knew that. The message that God forgives has a prior condition: that we forgive those who have injured us. "If you do not forgive men their trespasses," Jesus says, "neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses."

Still I stood there with the coldness clutching my heart. But forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. "Jesus, help me!" I prayed silently. “I can lift my hand. I can do that much. You supply the feeling."

And so woodenly, mechanically, I thrust my hand into the one stretched out to me. And as I did, an incredible thing took place. The current started in my shoulder, raced down my arm, sprang into our joined hands. And then this healing warmth seemed to flood my whole being, bringing tears to my eyes.

"I forgive you, brother!" I cried. "With all my heart!"

For a long moment we grasped each other's hands, the former guard and former prisoner. I had never known God's love so intensely as I did then.*

I love this story. It always brings tears to my eyes and chills on my arms. I know that I can't have true peace and I cannot have forgiveness for myself if I deny it to others.

How do you forgive someone who hurt you?

1. Get mad, feel hurt and grieve. 

2. Ask yourself whether your anger is constructive or destructive. 

3. Don't worry—you aren't saying the offense was OK. 

4. Practice stress-reduction techniques. 

5. Remind yourself why you want this person in your life if you do.

6. Set boundaries. 

If you find yourself stuck:

1. Practice empathy. ...

2. Ask yourself about the circumstances that may have led the other person to behave in such a way. ...

3. Reflect on times when others have forgiven you.

4. Write in a journal, pray or use guided meditation. ...

5. Be aware that forgiveness is a process. Be patient and compassionate with yourself. 

“Forgiveness is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not,” Swartz says. As you release the anger, resentment and hostility, you begin to feel empathy, compassion and sometimes even affection for the person who wronged you.

What is the golden rule of forgiveness?

It must be sincere and from the heart. It must be patterned after the forgiveness God has granted to us. It must be accompanied by actions which befit true forgiveness. 

What are the 4 R's of forgiveness?

Responsibility: Accept what has happened and show yourself compassion. Remorse: Use guilt and remorse as a gateway to positive behavior change. Restoration: Make amends with whomever you're forgiving, even if it's yourself. Renewal: Learn from the experience and grow as a person.

I hope that something you read in this blog may touch your heart and penetrate something in your soul. Life is both difficult and beautiful but it is also short. Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace. With that peace, move forward and enjoy all the blossoms and blue skies that lie ahead. 

Much love, 


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