The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, July 20, 2022 comes to us from Luz Ángela Galeano M. of Valle del Cauca, Colombia.
7 Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. 8 Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. 9 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. 10 Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. 11 But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. 12 I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. 13 I am writing to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. 14 I write to you, dear children, because you know the Father. I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
1 John 2:7-14 NIV
“A Good Day to Forgive”
I was young when I met the person who would become my husband. Unfortunately, my husband’s mother and I did not get along, and the tension was evident through her words and actions. This situation effected our marriage, and my husband and I separated. The rift left a deep wound. But after some time, my husband and I reconciled.
Over time, prayer has deepened my faith bringing me a greater understanding of God’s purpose in my life. Prayer has also been central to changes in my relationship with my mother-in-law. She is now in poor health and suffers from dementia. So during my devotional time, I offer prayers of mercy and forgiveness for her. When I do, I can sense the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Praying for my mother-in-law in this way has been liberating for me, and God has blessed me with a profound sense of peace in my heart because “darkness is passing away and the true light already shines” (1 John 2:8). Every day is a good day to forgive. And every day is an opportunity to live in the light of God’s immense love and mercy.
Many families, including mine, have struggles similar to the ones that Luz Ángela Galeano M. describes in this reflection. Feelings are fragile and hurt; anger boils over; difficult distances develop between family members; and some relationships are permanently estranged. But this reflection offers us a more faithful path to renewal – the path of forgiveness and reconciliation. Prayer and trust in God can empower the emotional strength to begin down the path to forgiveness. I believe that forgiveness is usually a journey that can take some time, as opposed to one simple act. So, we pray for grace for the entire journey, recognizing that the path can be long and empowered by God’s unlimited grace and love. Also, forgiveness not only heals the one receiving the gift of forgiveness, but also releases the one who is forgiving. I invite you to think about others whom you might need God’s help to forgive and how that forgiveness might free you.
God of grace, open our hearts and minds when we pray, “Forgive us for the ways we have wronged you, just as we also forgive those who have wronged us” (Matt. 6:12). Grant us faith and courage to abide by these words. Amen.
--Luz Ángela Galeano M.
Family Members who are estranged
Thought for the Day:
I will forgive others because God forgives me.