How Forgiving Others Helps You Heal

 
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When someone has hurt you or done something that brought harm to you or your family, it can be hard to forgive them. You want the person to be punished and yet no punishment feels like enough to pay for your hurt or loss.

Those feelings of vengeance, however, become a burden, and keep the pain fresh in your mind and heart. It also puts distance between you and God, so that you have no peace and you feel as if your prayers aren’t being heard.

In addition to the spiritual and emotional havoc, being unable to forgive leads to a heightened level of anxiety and stress. This causes sleeplessness and physiological symptoms such as high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, headaches, etc.

It helps to understand that revenge or punishment, while it may provide temporary relief, won’t change life for you or undo the harm that’s already been done. And while it may teach the offender a lesson, he or she has likely already learned the lesson from the consequences of their actions, and adding a harsh sentence won’t really free you of this burden for revenge.

The key is to let go of the pain and to turn the situation over to God, recognizing that He is the true judge and you can trust him to mete out just vengeance. If this seems impossible, it may help to think of others who you have seen wronged, but who have shown grace and offered forgiveness, never holding onto the anger. As you see them moving forward in peace and with a positive vision for the future, it can inspire a similar desire in you.

It also helps not to think of yourself as a victim, but instead to shift the focus to others. Find something to do that matters, recognizing that life is too short to waste time being angry. While you may not feel that your prayers are being answered, continue to pray to turn the burden over to God, asking Him to take it from you. If you are truly willing to release it, you will then be able to find peace.

You will start to see the way forward, with a positive outlook toward the future. The release of the burden, the release of the stress and anxiety, will allow you to sleep again, to laugh again, and to feel at one with God again, bringing healing to both your body and your soul.