Why forgiveness might just be the best gift you can give yourself this season
The holidays can be stressful. But what can make the holiday season even more stressful? Tiptoeing around family members, harboring resentment, or picking and choosing holiday gatherings because you’re avoiding someone.
Holding a grudge toward a loved one can be exhausting. The good news? There’s no better time for forgiveness than the holidays.
We get it. You might not be convinced just yet. There was likely a reason you became angry with this person to begin with, and if they had apologized this would already be over. But while there will always be a reason not to extend forgiveness toward someone, there will also always be an even better reason to forgive. Here are our best tips for mending fences this holiday season.
Reasons to Extend Forgiveness at Christmastime
1. Conflict leads to physical stress; forgiveness lessens panic and anxiety.
First things first — forgiveness is not about doing a favor for the other person. It’s about doing a favor for you.
Whether it’s a small argument with your significant other or a decade of not talking to a sibling, conflict is bad for your wellbeing. The stress associated with conflict can increase your risk for a heart attack, raise blood pressure, reduce sleep quality and more. Turns out, forgiveness is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Instead of refusing to forgive because you don’t think someone deserves forgiveness, choose to forgive because you deserve to live with less stress. Quite simply, forgiveness is practical.
2. Choosing to forgive sets the right example for your kids.
Modeling behavior is one of the best ways to teach our children how to behave. Forgiveness helps us better respect and understand others. While it doesn’t always mean forgetting, it does mean letting go.
We all want our kids to grow up and be successful, which is a lot harder when we’re holding on to feelings of negativity. Teaching our kids to let go helps them excel in the areas of their lives that matter most.
3. Forgiveness is what the holiday season is all about.
Many of us have heard the adage ‘Jesus is the reason for the season.’ Jesus may have been born on Christmas, but he died for the forgiveness of our sins.
Jesus died on a cross so that we could all experience forgiveness from God. God wants us to live a life of forgiveness, and he gave us that gift through Jesus. By choosing to forgive, we are embracing a gift greater than anything that could be put under the tree this season.
Forgiveness might not always be easy, and it might not always go as planned. The lesson in forgiveness isn’t the reaction from the person forgiven, it’s the change that takes place in you.
When we learned the definition of mercy earlier in this series, we learned that it’s all about showing compassion toward those whom within it’s our power to punish. Forgiveness is one of the best ways to show mercy. How will you show your moment of mercy this week?
Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to share with the hashtag #MomentsofMercy on social media. We promise — this is one thing that can truly put you in the holiday spirit!