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Advent Practices – Week 3 – Day 2

THEME: RADICAL GENEROSITY

BREATH PRAYER: LORD, GIVE ME JOY IN BLESSING OTHERS THROUGH RADICAL GENEROSITY.


CENTERING:

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
Isaiah 61:1

SETTLING IN:

  • In a journal, note the day, time, and place you’re sitting.
  • Open with a few moments of silence. Rest, and breathe deeply.
  • Complete the following sentence in your journal: Today, I feel ________________.
  • Read the centering verse above slowly (aloud or silently).

Pause for a few moments of silence, then pray this week’s breath prayer.

PRACTICE:
FORGIVENESS

For a short form of this exercise, follow the prompts in italics.

We have spent much of this week considering our own power, and the freedom that can come with surrendering our authority for the sake of another. Forgiveness of a wrong or a debt is one tangible way to surrender that power. Holding a grudge against someone deceives us into thinking we have control, that someone is dependent on us for forgiveness. But the “freedom for the captives” in Isaiah 61:1 goes both ways: forgiveness releases us from the need to protect the power we think we have over another.

    • Read Colossians 3:13. Consider Christ’s forgiveness of you. Imagine Him as a human, a neighbor, a coworker, a brother or cousin, forgiving you for wrongs against Him. For what offenses do you most desire His forgiveness? Speak to Him about this, and receive His faithful and complete pardon.
      • Short Form: Read Colossians 3:13. What does it mean to forgive as the Lord forgave you? Think of an offense you have done to the Lord or to His people, and rest in the knowledge that He has forgiven you in full.
    • Take several minutes to think through wrongs that have been done to you. It might help to list them in your journal. What emotions arise as you remember these occasions or offenses? Ask God to bring to mind one in particular that seems difficult or impossible for you to forgive.
      • Short Form: Think of a wrong done to you that seems difficult or impossible for you to forgive. Write a few sentences about the circumstances of that offense and why it is especially grievous to you.
    • Imagine yourself sitting with Christ, discussing this wrong that was done to you. How do you describe it to Him? Envision yourself sealing the offense in a box, taking it away from the person who hurt you, and handing it to Jesus to deal with. How does He respond? Ask the Lord to give you His complete forgiveness for that person.
      • Short Form: Imagine you’re sitting with Jesus, and you take this wrongdoing away from the person who offended you and give it to Christ. How does He respond? Ask Him to give you His forgiveness for that person.
    • In your journal, write to the person who wronged you. If possible and appropriate, reach out to him or her and offer the freedom of forgiveness, written or spoken, remembering it is not dependent on that person’s reciprocity.
      • Short Form: Write to the person who wronged you, granting him or her forgiveness. If possible, deliver these written or spoken words directly to that person.

NOTE: Forgiveness is a radically generous practice that requires continual attention. Some of us carry wounds that are deep and may take years of prayer and practice to fully address and release them to Jesus. If this practice is especially difficult for you, don’t give up! Consider discussing your wound and difficulty in forgiving with a trusted friend or mentor. Over time, as you practice forgiveness with God’s grace and the encouragement of others, this practice of radical generosity will produce the slow-growing fruit of freedom.

Summary: Write in your journal a brief summary (five sentences or less) of your practice.

Closing: Lord, give me joy in blessing others through radical generosity.


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Photo credit DiEtte Henderson