Doing This One Thing Can Change Your Entire Well-Being
No less an authority than the Mayo Clinic says that embracing forgiveness rather than bitterness “can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.”
The Mayo Clinic says that some of the benefits of forgiveness are:
Improved mental health;
Less anxiety, stress and hostility;
Lower blood pressure;
Fewer symptoms of depression;
A stronger immune system;
Improved heart health; and
Dr. Michael Barry, a pastor and the author of the book, “The Forgiveness Project,” said that 61 percent of cancer patients have forgiveness issues.
"Harboring these negative emotions, this anger and hatred, creates a state of chronic anxiety," he said. "Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body's foot soldier in the fight against cancer.”
So why do so many people refuse to forgive and remain bitter? Experts say it could be because it makes us feel superior or, in a strange way, we take pleasure in our feelings of resentment.
But the Bible is clear:
Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
In other words, forgiven people should forgive people. Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. “
Dr. Erwin Lutzer, pastor emeritus of The Moody Church in Chicago, put it this way. “If you are going to wait until you want to forgive, you never will. Forgiveness is so critical, even if you have to force yourself to. Without it, you will just continue to be the one who is hurt. Some people see their whole lives as being victims, and some see their whole lives through the wounds they have. Some people don’t want to be healed, because their “wound” is their calling card – their identity as a person.”
Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, was once asked if she was still speaking to someone who had offended her years ago.
“Why shouldn’t I?” she asked.
Her friend reminded her what the other person had done.
“Oh,” Barton responded. “I distinctly remember forgetting that offense."
The moral of the story: choose forgiveness over bitterness.