by Dr. Regina Campbell
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”. Mahatma Gandhi
Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32 NIV
To forgive is to love. Many of us have had someone to violate our trust or mistreat us or whatever reason. The most difficult thing is to forgive someone when you have been hurt. The hurt sometimes can be so deep to the point that it takes time to recover and move forward. Then the question becomes how can you forgive when you’ve been deeply hurt. First to forgive is truly difficult because the pain that the person inflicted upon you can be immensely devastating and could have a lasting effect. Second to forgive means that you have to face and acknowledge what was done caused you pain. Third you have to decide how to proceed whether you will forgive or harbor the pain in your memory bank which may have a detrimental effect to your future relationships.
The scripture tells us that we are to forgive as we have been forgiven. Forgiveness is imperative in any relationship. To have harmonious and healthy relationships forgiveness is crucial as people make mistakes. To forgive is to love. True Forgiveness is rooted in unconditional love. Love is the key to bring you to forgive even when you have experienced the most devastating horrific act against you. Forgiveness is crucial to moving forward. If you don’t forgive moving ahead is difficult because you’ll focus on what was done to you and every time that person’s name is mentioned or when you see that person your emotions and heart become agitated and then the pain resurfaces. Unforgiveness is like an open wound that never heals thus anything that reminds you of that situation or person thrusts you immediately into that painful moment. Therefore your forgiveness becomes the key to free yourself. Forgiveness is not for the person that wronged you it’s for you. If you don’t forgive then you are allowing what was done to you and that person to rob you of the joy of being free. Not forgiving that person gives that person has power over you and you continue to be bound to that situation.
Unforgiveness leads to bitterness and resentment and evidently can impact your health. According to the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living there are health benefits for when you forgive.
“By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.”
What are the benefits of forgiving someone?
Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:
• Healthier relationships
• Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
• Less anxiety, stress and hostility
• Lower blood pressure
• Fewer symptoms of depression
• Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse
Finally forgiveness doesn’t excuse or release the person who harmed or hurt you from his/her responsibilities. Remember that sometimes a person that inflicted hurt has been hurt or harmed as well and that same behavior has been passed down. Also that person wasn’t capable of the error of his/her ways so that person’s was ignorant to how hurtful his/her behavior was to you. Nevertheless that person must be forgiven for you to forge ahead to a peaceful and fulfilling life that God has in store for you.