Did you know that unforgiveness can be deadly?
According to research done by Dr. Michael Berry, 61 per cent of cancer patients have a problem with forgiveness. Negative emotions caused by harboring a grudge can shorten your life.
Why are people unable to forgive?
Forgiveness seems impossible in situations such as marital infidelity, murder, or car accident. The list could go on and on. Broken relationships in families cause great pain and division. Friendships are cast aside due to wounded feelings.
Feelings associated with unforgiveness.
When holding a grudge against an offender, thoughts of revenge creep in. You feel wounded and thus justified. Negative feelings take over. It’s like biting into bitter fruit and having the taste linger in your mouth. Anger and bitterness can cause depression and anxiety. Sometimes you can feel distant from God. Your other relationships can suffer.
Forgiveness and You
Do you find it difficult to pardon others for an offense?
Unfair treatment can leave you feeling betrayed. Anger and resentment often follow. If left unchecked, these emotions can be damaging.
Consider the account of Joseph and his brothers in The Old Testament.
“Now when they saw him afar off, even before he came near them, they conspired against him to kill him. Then they said to one another, “Look, this dreamer is coming! Come therefore, let us now kill him and cast him into some pit; and we shall say, ‘Some wild beast has devoured him.’ We shall see what will become of his dreams!” Genesis 37:18-20 NKJV
Can you imagine being thrown into a pit and later, sold as a slave to a passing caravan? Even if this sounds drastic for today, consider feelings you have experienced in a broken relationship.
In the account of Joseph, he did forgive his brothers. But what if he hadn’t? Would he have been able to cope with his captivity? Perhaps he would have succumbed to temptation to enter an adulterous affair with Potiphar’s wife. And he wouldn’t have been able to follow God’s plan.
The clinical staff at Mayo clinic recommends, “As you let go of grudges, you’ll no longer define your life by how you’ve been hurt. You might even find compassion and understanding.”
In my own life, as a Christian, I am required to forgive others because Christ has pardoned me for my sins. Believe me, I know letting go of an offense isn’t easy. Through prayer and reading scripture, I can work through it.
Hanging on to negative feelings related to an offense can make you sick. Statistics show the effect on mental and physical health. Are you harboring anger and resentment? How could you get rid of these lingering and destructive emotions? Please feel free to share with me.