Want more joy? Try this...

Want a key to finding more joy in life? Learn to forgive YOURSELF!

Harvard research put out an article called "5 Reasons to Forgive." Here's why:
1. Reduced stress.
2. Better heart health.
3. Reduced pain.
4. Greater happiness.
5. Stronger relationships.

I would agree with all of these... especially #4! Wouldn't you?

If we know that forgiveness brings happiness, why wouldn't we choose to forgive? Why do we hold back?

Because choosing forgiveness isn't always easy, is it? AND sometimes the most difficult choice is learning to forgive OURSELVES! I'm always amazed at how many hold on to past regret and never find the joy, peace and happiness that comes from releasing their offense to Christ.

How can we learn to accept forgiveness? Let me give you two things to STOP doing and one thing to START doing right now!

1. Stop doubting!

Sometimes we question whether or not we're truly forgiven by God. We often condemn ourselves by saying: "Why in the world would God ever forgive me?" Please don't ever doubt the love of God and how much he desires restoration!

"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us..." 1 John 1:9, NLT

2. Stop holding on!

The guilt from our past mistakes anchors us down. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy! Learn to replace the guilt with the peace that comes from the presence of God's Spirit.

"...we have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water." Hebrews 10:22, NCV

3. Start Moving Forward!

Our past can often prevent us from moving forward. We are so scared of looking foolish again, petrified of not being successful, frightened of yet another terrible relationship, etc.

God wants to replace that fear with courage.

"God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline." 2 Timothy 1:7, NLT

Stop doubting and start believing you are forgiven!
Stop holding on to the past and start moving forward into God's future!

Learning to accept forgiveness is just one of the many keys to experiencing a joyful life! I look forward to teaching more ways to find joy in our new series (starting this Sunday) titled "JOY!" Make sure you're with us this Sunday. You'll be happy you came!

Jimmy McIlrath