because of God's love

Forgiveness Brings Healing and Health
Day 9

by Gini Crawford, MSW

posted 12/21/2016, revised 5/19/2018

Psychology has seen in research that people who forgive live longer. Why? People who forgive more readily, are less likely to be angry, depressed and anxious, and more likely to be content and happy. The psychological always affects the physical, so these qualities are significant in predicting wellbeing in a person. People who only forgive when someone apologizes, when their demands are met, or not at all - tend to continuously hold on to negative emotions that result in such feelings as anxiety, anger, resentment and bitterness. These types of negative feelings keep your stress level high, and it's the high stress that wears on your health and may even shorten your life. Remember what we discussed in Day 2 regarding Psychological distress and forgiveness.

To hold a grudge for the long term is really ridiculous and is bad for your health and happiness! When your forgiveness is conditional it requires some sort of response from the person who has wronged you. And if you are truthful with yourself, you could wait for decades to forgive, or the conditions will never be right for you to forgive the person. In the meantime the person you won't forgive - has probably forgotten the wrong they did to you, or never realized or cared they wronged you, or could even have died. So you are stressed and miserable over something you could have chosen to move past years ago, if you would have just forgiven the person.

Forgiveness brings healing. Whether a person wants to be forgiven or deserves forgiveness - forgiveness sets the forgiver free from the stress creating emotions that come from unforgiveness. The result of this is a psychological serenity that positively affects our physical, which can only be good for our health. Just think of my aunt, if she was a forgiver she would not have struggled with the high stress of constant anger and bitterness towards people. She did die of a heart attack so it's reasonable to think not forgiving people affected her health too.

Life Application

There is a clear contrast in Ephesians 4:31-32 between the emotions from unforgiveness and forgiveness. The strong negative emotions in verse 31 towards people lead to stress, discontent and a person no one wants to be around. The positive emotions in verse 32 towards people lead to contentment, serenity, and happiness. Ask yourself, what type of person do you want to be? The person God wants you to be, who brings kindness, love, and forgiveness into the world or the angry and bitter type of person? You have a choice.

Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. Ephesians 4:31-32. NASB®

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