This morning’s Charlotte Observer has an article titled “The Ability to Forgive ay Help You Heal.” The subtitle for the article is ‘Holding onto a Grudge is Bad for the Immune System, Author Says’.
The writer of the article, Jane Glenn Haas, interviewed Reverend Michael Berry, Director of Pastoral Care at Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia. Barry is the author of a book soon to be published titled “The Forgiveness Project: The Startling Discovery of How to Overcome Cancer, Find Health and Achieve Peace.”
I had the good fortune of meeting Rev. Berry two years ago at the annual meeting of the Society for Spirituality Theology and Health at Duke University. We had lunch together and shared about our common passion on the topic of faith and health.
The short article highlights the connection between chronic stress and health – especially from the standpoint of how an unforgiving attitude can impact have one’s health. In addition to reading this short article that appears in many newspapers throughout the country, I would urge you to go to Barry’s website www.releasenow.org as it has a lot of helpful information addressing the link between forgiveness, chronic stress, anxiety and health – especially cancer.
Forgiveness, Healing and Health – What the Research Shows
There is plenty of research available that demonstrates the health implications of not forgiving someone. Here is a document on the Forgiveness and Health Research.
Forgiveness, Healing and Health – What the Bible Says
The Bible is chock full of information about the significance of forgiveness. Without a doubt, the Christian faith is based upon the forgiveness that God extends to us through his Son who died on the cross for us. God recognizes that due to the sin nature that we inherited from Adam and Eve, it is our nature to sin and live life in a way that is contrary to the principles that He lays out for us in the Bible. Because God loves us so much, His solution for this problem was to make forgiveness of sins available to us by the death of Jesus. The Bible also has several verses that instruct us to forgive others who have sinned against us.
“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.” Ephesians 4:31-32
“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25
“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one.For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Matthew 6:12-14
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13
“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7
Forgiveness, Healing and Health – The Bottom Line
The bottom line is, God designed us in a way that we should not hold onto grudges and bitterness towards others. When we do this we pay a price – not only in our emotional and spiritual health but in our physical health.
What would God want you to do? Search your heart and let him reveal to you if there is any unforgiveness and bitterness tucked away deep inside. If there is, God wants you to confess this sin and extend forgiveness to the person associated with that pain and hurt. His Son paid a high price so you can be forgiven by God. You owe it to God to forgive others!
Blog Post – Guilt, Satan, Disease and Forgiveness
Article – Forgiveness: A Spiritual Exercise for a Healthier Heart
I know personally how much that hurts. Even if you choose not to continue your relationship for your own spiritual and emotional healing you must forgive him. I know it’s hard but when you finally are able to “let go” you will feel much better.
Rev Melaku Tizazu says
Whenever we sin the Bible tells us to repent, forsake, and thank God for His provision of forgiveness through Jesus Christ our Lord. Then keep close to God in prayer, reading the Bible and trust Gods word on the grace of God. God does not keep the record of any sin that we have repented and forsaken. “Go (free) and sin no more.” For those of us who have the Advocate at the right hand of the Father, “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Rom 8:1
God will judge us only for not repented, not forsaken sin.
I recently found out that my boyfriendg got another girl pregnat. It hurts me so much. I love him and we have a daughter together. I want to forgive him and move past this but it seems so difficult. I feel like an emotional mess. I just want peace in my heart I don’t like feeling the way I feel.
it is hard to forgive , but when you forgive you’ll get a peace on your mind and heart that you want for.. that’s the greatest thing to do..
samuel oku says
My girlfriend had an abortion because we weren’t ready fro a child. Now she cant forgive herself, neither can I. At this point I’ve been praying for forgiveness for both of us for we have sinned in the name of God and we ask for his forgiveness. What can we do in this position?
Be at peace Samuel Oku, Jesus has already forgiven you. Read; 1John 1:19 – St. John 8:36 – Romans 5:1
I made the same mistake. It tore my heart apart every day. I went to a Christian retreat and they asked anyone who had lost or aborted a child to come and get a baby dedication certificate. I wept, feeling so undeserving of forgiveness. I put the baby’s name on the certificate, which was just the last name of the biological father. They told me to close my eyes and envision giving that child to Jesus and watching that child climb up into the lap of Jesus. They told me that Jesus would hold and rock my baby until I got there. I cried so hard that I couldn’t stand. But in time, I realized that God forgives even the most horrible sins. He forgives us for sins when we repent. Give it to Him. He will help you to forgive yourselves. Choose & purpose in your heart to forgive, no matter how you feel. It will come in time.
Thank you so much. God Bless you!
By the way, it is biblical truth that the man is not responsible for his children’s action. Every person is accountable for one’s own life. “No man can redeem the life of another; there is no payment great enough,” so it is pointless to go about “beating oneself up” on account of another person’s actions. Even your daughter’s wicked life is redeemable. Her repentance will not bring her victim back, nor will it atone for her action; but repenting of her sin before God, she will find renewal and redemption. She will know freedom and joy. As will all who trust in him.
Erica, tell your friend that he is right. He cannot forgive himself. Only God forgives. Tell him that his whole life depends on God. Believe what the Lord has said. “We have an Advocate with the Father: Jesus Christ.” The death of Christ is the payment for all wickedness, even that which overtook his daughter, making her a murderer. Moreover, Jesus Christ is raised to life; he will raise up everyone who repents of sin and restore that person, redeeming that life. God rejoices in repentant hearts, for those hearts are redeemed in the Name of Christ Jesus. With such a promise there is hope and joy and peace.
These are yours, in Jesus’ name. If you haven’t yet, be baptized into that promise. This gift of forgiveness and seal of God’s Spirit is for you and your children and for all who are yet distant to the Lord.
The links in the article do not work. I would like to encourage folk to leave a bible in the reception areas of medical clinics to remind people that the teachings of the bible can give them peace.
I have a friend that just confessed to me that his daughter is in jail for 2nd degree murder and he is holding himself responsible because he thinks he could have been a better parent and is having a real difficult time forgiving himself. ..where in scripture does it talk about forgiving yourself?
Good question. We are instructed to “love our neighbours as ourselves” in the Golden Commandment. Loving ourselves involves forgiving ourselves as well, just as we would forgive others who hurt us. This is hard for folk to do, especially those who hold themselves to high standards.
The inability to forgive ourselves lies in the inability to see Gods grace in operation in our lives. If God has forgives us, why shouldn’t we? I understand that as a parent we have times of remorse and regret that we didn’t act as parents should. However, you can’t change the past; only learn from it. If the past chains us, then we become prisoners ourselves. For her/his daughter’s sake, s/he should forgive and become a channel of grace to the daughter. Unforgiveness is a grace blocker. Hope this helps.