Today is the Fourth of July: the birthday of our great country. As I proudly hung my stars and stripes over my balcony, I gave thanks for the men and women who fight around the world for my – our – freedom. I am so thankful that I live in the United States. As many problems as this country has, this is still the greatest country in the world to live in as far as I am concerned.

I am thankful for being set free emotionally and spiritually as well. In church this morning, the words of the hymn, “Amazing Grace”, humbled me once again. As I thought of the price that Jesus paid to to set me free from the bondage of my past, my mistakes, and my shame, I am filled with gratitude and love. Each time I realize how I’ve blown it, God is there to forgive me. He never holds a grudge or bitterness. How great is His grace to me each and every day?

And then I thought, if God can give so much grace to me, why am I still holding on to unforgiveness and pain that others have caused me? Every time I talk or think about past hurts, I relive the pain all over again. This is not the life Christ died for me to live. As I partook of the communion emblems, I remembered the words of Christ who said “I have come to set the captives free” and I resolved to give grace to those who have hurt me in the past and leave my pain at the foot of the cross.

What hurts or pains might you be holding onto dear one? We may think we have forgiven but is the emotion still there? If so, on this Independence Day, may you accept God’s amazing grace and let Jesus set you freer than you’ve ever been.

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