With recent events and with the US Independence Day coming next week, this week’s blog is less about financial matters and more about life issues.

The USA was founded on freedom and independence. That freedom was purchased with the sacrifice of our citizens who chose (or during some times, were drafted) to serve in our armed forces. Sometimes we forget that the freedoms we enjoy are not available to many peoples in other parts of our world. For some, it was the ultimate sacrifice. John 15:13 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

For many of us, it is difficult to understand that kind of love; the willingness to give up everything, even your life, for someone else. Even more difficult to understand is the forgiveness that flows from that unbelievable love. We have seen, in the past week, this unbelievable love and forgiveness from the folks who are part of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. They welcomed a stranger into their Bible study. Even while they grieved over the deaths of nine of their members at the hands of the stranger, they continued to offer love to the stranger and, also, forgiveness.

For many, forgiveness is unthinkable in situations such as this. However, we need to understand that forgiveness does not mean that the perpetrator does not face consequences. Forgiveness is independent of that. Forgiveness allows the person who has been hurt to move on, to continue to love, to continue to truly live. Forgiveness releases the hurt person from the burden of hate and resentment.

As we watch the love and forgiveness flow from Emanuel AME and spread around Charleston and further, we see John 1:5 happening in our world. “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” The light of love and forgiveness can never be extinguished by the powers of evil.

Live in the light, my friends.

Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.

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