Forgive for Good: The Benefits of Forgiveness and How to Cultivate It
Today is the day you should start the process of forgiving those who have hurt you. Don’t put it off another day. It’s true and I know you know it; it harms you more to hold a grudge than the other person.
When we don’t forgive, we give the other person the power to hurt us again. Not only stress, but the bigger picture is this: God forgives us as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times 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.
God will forgive us as we have forgiven others. If it takes you ten years to forgive someone, you can expect God to take as much time with you! For a long time, I went through the Lord’s prayer not fully understanding what those words meant. They are profound, aren’t they?
It wasn’t until then I truly started trying to find a way to let go of those of old issues and heal the wounds that actually held me in prison. I can tell you even knowing this, it still was not easy as some of those memories and scars were very painful.
I don’t know of anyone who hasn’t been hurt in their lives. I know my parents have certainly hurt my feelings before. I’ve been hurt by my significant others, friends, co-workers, bosses, and even strangers.
Words really can hurt you
The words we say do have power and sometimes, they hurt worse than sticks and stones. Words can have a negative and lasting impact that leaves you feeling bitter and angry.
There have been times when I wanted to take revenge against someone and if I’m really honest, I’d tell you that a few times, I did. Sure, I felt falsely and momentarily empowered after trashing his house, but things only worsened.
Forgiving someone is a choice, hopefully, you will consider especially after reading this blog. But not because I said it, rather because God commands us to. It will bring peace into your life and isn’t that what you really want?
Holding on to ill feelings only increases the negative aspects of our lives. All of those destructive thoughts tend to eat at us, taking away the positive characteristics and can lead to depression.
After we forgive someone, we take control back from them. We regain control and with us, is where it rightfully belongs.
The benefits of forgiveness
As I mentioned before, I know forgiveness can be difficult, however, look at the benefits of letting go of the pain:
Improved self-esteem – Feeling good about yourself is essential to a happy life.
Lower blood pressure – the heart rate is not as rapid therefore, it lowers our blood pressure
Less anxiety – guilt sometimes leaves us with feelings of anxiety, forgiveness lessens anxiety
Decreases signs of depression – depression is still one of the number one causes of suicide
Healthier relationships – making forgiveness a routine allows our relationships to flourish
Increased spiritual relationships – forgiveness allows us to grow closer to God
Forgiveness demands that you be committed to changing how you feel about someone. To forgive someone, you may need to reflect on the situation and how you reacted to it. Ask yourself, how has it affected your life and your mental or physical well-being. The answers to those questions are important to healing.
Can’t find forgiveness?
Well, what helped me as a child and one of the reasons I’m here today is that my father encouraged me to write down my feelings. It’s a great way of expressing yourself without having to confide in anyone.
You can write as much as you want and say what you are feeling deep down and you don’t have the fear of being judged when you use your journal. If you’ve attempted writing and it’s not working, try talking to your best friend, family member, pastor or spiritual counsellor.
When you’re hurting at the hands of others, you can either choose to hold on to the anger and hostility or you can move on. The answer to forgiveness is in your Bible, however, for further reading I can suggest a book called Forgive and Forget written by Lewis B. Smedes.
Essentially, we forgive by faith and out of obedience. We must forgive even if we don’t want to. Ask God to help you and He will. You’ll know when you’ve reached the point of forgiveness because you will feel a weight lifted off your shoulders. You will feel free!
Life’s too short to short change yourself of all of the goodness in this world. Who wants to experience the free world in prison? Let it go… choose to forgive to live!