Peter came to Jesus, and said, Lord, how often shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times? Jesus answered,”I tell you, not seven times, but seventy seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22).
While many people believe that to forgive someone is to let the other guy off the hook, evidence is mounting that it is the one who lets go of the offense that finds a new lease on life. A growing body of research is revealing that those who are known to experience significant physical and mental benefits from doing so.
Forgiveness literally short-circuits a surge of stress hormones that accelerates heart rate, weakens the
immune system, slows down the digestion system and encourages blood clotting. On the other hand, unforgivenss and holding on to anger, increases your chance for a heart attack! It also raises your risk of cancer, hypertension, high cholesterol, depression, panic attacks, and a whole host of chronic diseases.
Do not equate forgiveness with forgetting. It is unrealistic to think that you can forget about an injustice, or a wound inflicted upon you by another.
You do have a memory, and the memory will always be with you. Forgiving is letting go of the anger, and pain that is attached to the wound and moving on with your life. The wound has now become scar tissue.
Forgiveness is quite a challenge and can at times be painfully difficult. Sometimes, before forgiveness can be possible, you may need to fully express your rage, anger, hurt, sadness or other emotions about what happened. There are more responsible ways
to express these emotions than taking them out on yourself, i.e., overeating, addictions/alcoholism, etc., or someone else. An excellent way to deal with what you are feeling is what I call, Journaling for Life. Write it all down. No holding back or critiquing what you write. This will help you avoid those feelings of retaliation and revenge. Those who forgive are known to experience significant physical and mental health benefits from doing so. Forgiveness is a process, not a moment
What is Forgiveness?
is neither forgetting nor approving. It is letting go of emotional pain. To forgive does not wipe out the painful event from your memory and certainly does not condone what happened. Letting go does not excuse the other person, reconciling with them or condoning the behavior. Forgiveness is “letting go” of your own suffering.
is a choice. It will not simply come wit the passage of time or through a fading on emotions. Forgiveness is an act done with intent and often it is not a once and for all, it is over, event. The same hurt may resurface in many forms before forgiveness is complete. Forgiveness is a process, not a moment!
is difficult, but it is important to understand that forgiveness is for you. It is not done for the benefit of the person, who hurt you, but in order to set you free and make your life better.
Can You Truly Be Healed From the Pain?
I believe the answer to that question is YES! But you must have the determination and desire to do so. You must do the
work necessary to be set free. It is not easy, but it is very worth it. Looking in the mirror, which requires a deep look inside, takes a lot of courage. That is where God comes in and holds you up as you dig deep. With God’s help, the process is accelerated. Prayer and an intimate relationship with God are a must for the unfolding of freedom to be complete. Swiss-born psychiatrist Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross counseled hundreds of patients and their families through her research into death and dying. She described the classic pattern of the coping strategies of patients who know their diagnosis is terminal. These 5 stages of grief: denial,
anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, apply to all areas of hurt and woundedness, i.e., divorce, rape, abandonment, loss of a career, and so on. Once you have worked through the 5 stages of “letting go” you will then experience the life as God intended it to be, for you.
Positive thoughts are Key
In James Allen’s noted work, As a Man Thinketh, he states:
“Disease and health are rooted in thought. Sickly thoughts will express themselves through a sickly body. Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a man as speedily as a bullet, and they are continually killing thousands of people as surely though less rapidly. The people who live in fear of disease are the people who get it. Anxiety quickly demoralizes the whole body and lays it open to the entrance of disease;
while impure thoughts, even if not physically indulged, will soon affect then nervous system.”
Positive thoughts cause the body to release interleuken and interferon that are healing substances to the body. Anxious, panicked, fearful thoughts cause the body to release cortisone and adrenaline, which suppress immune and digestive response. I believe that the one thing that is missing in our upside world is
forgiveness. I also believe that powerful changes happen when we open our hearts emotionally to forgive. Here are 5 passageways that I have developed to bring you into the fullness of freedom that Christ purchased for you at Calvary (Ps 119:45).
- Get involved (Eph 4:12)
- Journaling writing (Ez 1:1)
- Prayer & meditation (1Th 5:17; Ps 119)
Find a support group (Heb 10:25)
- Biblically based counseling (Prov 1:5)
For Women Only
Many of us women invest their whole lives in a man, be it a husband, son, brother. While it is true that man was designed for woman, and vice-versa, man was not created to take the place of our Lord Jesus Christ. A man does not have
the capacity to heal your pain and hurt. He was not meant to fill that God-given vacuum that only He can fill. Remember, men need healing also… Both men and women need to take their fear, grief, emotional pain, unforgiveness and unresolved issues of anger to the One that died for our sins. “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
Lord, you have made it quite clear that forgiveness is a preparation for health. If I pretend that I do not have ought against another I set up a roadblock between myself and You, which is the last thing I want (Mark 11:25). Forgiving those who have wronged me is not something I enjoy doing, but it is simply good hygiene, like washing my hands before a meal. Remind me of this every time I
stand before You, Lord. Help me with the issue of pride that often causes me to plot in my heart against those who have hurt me. Create in me a heart of forgiveness, that I many do everything in my power to save with Your great healing love. Give me the grace and strength to forgive others so You will forgive me my own sins. Let it be so!