Online, In Worship, In Study 
Worship: 9:30 am in August      Study: 10:30 am on Tuesdays
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness."
(Galatians 5: 22-23a)
FOR YOUR REFLECTION: Someone once told me this story: "I remember the first time someone truly forgave me. I had cheated my friend Paul out of a lot of money and when he found out, he was really mad. He came stomping into my room (they were in college), yelling and cursing and threatening me. He must have shouted for fifteen minutes. He ended his screaming by shouting, 'What are you going to do now, man?' Shaken and afraid, I mumbled the only thing I could think of, 'Forgive me?' Paul stared at me for a moment and then, started laughing. Really belly laughing. 'Are you kidding me, dude? How about, 'pay you back?'' 'Yeah,' I quickly replied. 'Of course I'll pay you back. But man, it's more than the money. I don't want to lose you as a friend. I'm really sorry. And I hope some time you can forgive me.' Paul's amazing reply? 'Sure, dude. Just don't mess up like that again, alright?' Just like that! And I never did-I paid him back, never cheated again and to this day, Paul is my best friend. Because he could forgive me."
Forgiveness is one of the pillars of joy because it is one of the most important things we can do to free ourselves from our most basic nature. We are not perfect beings; we make mistakes, we mess up, as St. Paul says, "We fall short of the glory of God." And when we are forgiven or forgive, it frees us into a higher plane of being and relationship. It allows us to start again. It allows us to liberate ourselves from the worst of who we can be into the best of who we are. When we forgive, we build our spiritual muscles of joy.
FROM THE BOOK OF JOY: "Until we can forgive the person who harmed us, that person will hold the keys to our happiness, that person will be our jailor. When we forgive, we take back control of our own fate and feelings. We become our own liberator." (Page 234)
QUESTIONS FOR EXPLORING JOY: Who do you need to forgive in order to let go of that offense and find more joy? How do you need to forgive yourself in order to build your joy? 
ACTION STEPS: This week, when you make a mistake, try to have your first response be one of forgiveness. Acknowledge your mistake; see your part of the process; apologize and ask for forgiveness and then, forgive yourself.
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