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

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“Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone[a]who sins against me? Seven times?” “No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:21-22

We are now in the holiday season, and it is prime time for family gatherings! Many of these images are meant to be funny. However, family gatherings can be tense and stressful especially when there is lingering animosity, resentment, and feelings of hurt or wrongdoing. Harboring these feelings can affect your health in a negative way. Although it is very difficult to do so, try to forgive and free yourself at the same time.

According to the Mayo Clinic:
What is forgiveness?

Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.

There are several health benefits to forgiving others:

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness, health and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:
•Healthier relationships
•Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
•Less anxiety, stress and hostility
•Lower blood pressure
•Fewer symptoms of depression
•Stronger immune system
•Improved heart health
•Higher self-esteem

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Christmas marks the remembering of God taking human form to live with his people. Jesus is the symbol of forgiveness. Focusing on Christ during the holiday season will help ease your stress, anxiety, and hurt.

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