The Heart of the Matter

“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:10-11

In his book, “The Progress Paradox,” writer Gregg Easterbrook tells an extraordinary story of forgiveness.

Amy Biehl, an idealistic white California college student, wins a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to South Africa to assist the anti-apartheid movement; caught in a 1993 race riot, she is murdered by a black mob. Following years of grief, Amy’s parents Linda and Peter gave up their fashionable upper-middle-class California lifestyle and moved to South Africa to try to complete the work their daughter started. The Biehls not only met two of the young men who killed Amy but, learning of the chaotic circumstances of the riot and the heartfelt remorse of the killers, gradually became friends with the men who helped murder their daughter…For two years they worked with Amy’s parents daily, and eventually became close enough that they addressed Linda Biehl as ‘mom.’

Both of Amy’s parents said they felt “happier and more at peace” after forgiving their daughter’s killers.

What does forgiveness have to do with money? For many of us, quite a bit. Maybe a divorce has left your finances in shambles and you’ve been bitter toward your former spouse ever since. Maybe you’re angry with your parents for not teaching you the money management lessons you ended up having to learn the hard way. Maybe you’ve been beating yourself up for some financial mistakes you’ve made. Maybe it’s time you began the process of letting go of all that.

To be sure, forgiveness doesn’t come easily, as Don Henley expresses in song.

I’ve been tryin’ to get down

to the heart of the matter

But my will gets weak

and my thoughts seem to scatter

But I think it’s about…forgiveness

Some 2,000 years ago, God set in motion the greatest act of forgiveness the world has ever known by sending us his Son. Just as the Bible teaches that we love because God first loved us (1 John 4:19), we can forgive those who hurt us because God first forgave us for our sins.

Is there someone you need to forgive–for your financial situation, or anything else? Perhaps the greatest gift any of us can give this Christmas is the greatest one we’ve ever received–the gift of forgiveness.

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