There are two sides of forgiveness.

Sometimes you are the one who needs to forgive an offense. Other times, you may be the one who needs to ask for forgiveness for pain you have caused.

Whichever side of forgiveness you are on there is the therapeutic effect of forgiveness. Forgiveness swings both ways. The act of forgiving others and knowing that you’re forgiven, both allow you to live healthier and stress free.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9, KJV

Forgiveness is a decision to cover an offense with love, like a blanket of water over a raging fire. It is a decision to give up resentments or thoughts of getting even.

Forgiveness is not pretending that a wrong or an evil was done. It doesn’t mean that you ignore or approve of wrong doing. Forgiveness is not justifying or excusing out and out sin for the sake of continuing to act out wrongly.

Some of the benefits of forgiveness include:

Reduced Stress

Forgiveness provides peace that passes understanding and a time of refreshing. Scientific research, from places such as Harvard and Mayo Clinic, has shown that mentally holding onto grudges and anger puts your body through stress. It puts your heart to extra work. It causes your body to respond as if it is under a major stressful event, like a fight or flight reaction. Your muscles tense up, your sweat glands are activated, and your blood pressure elevates.

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. —Acts 3:19, KJV

Happier Relationships

Healthy friendships, families and marriages are built on give and take. Those who forgive easily also tend to know how to resolve other conflicts as well. They are free to show kindness to others, so people enjoy being around them.

The very act of forgiveness cultivates empathy. The more you empathize and understand the actions of others, the more likely you are to overlook their shortcomings.

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. —Ephesians 4:32, KJV

Psychological and Spiritual Wellness: Happiness

Forgiveness allows you to take charge of your own emotions. By embracing forgiveness, you choose the path of peace. You cultivate joy and a sense of thankfulness.

This happiness transfers over to every area of your life. People who easily forgive, or work through issues that upset them, tend to have less symptoms of depression and a lower risk of abusing alcohol or illegal substances.

“But it hurt! What they said, or did, hurt so deeply. How do I learn to forgive?”

Forgiveness often goes against natural human nature. It is contrary to worldliness, but in Christ you are a new creation. Be realistic. Stay hopeful, but don’t expect perfection out of others. Expect them to fail occasionally.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. —2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV

Forgiveness takes practice and surrender. It is a commitment to consciously changing destructive thought patterns of hostility and anger and allowing Jesus to take over the fight.

What If You are the One Who Needs to be Forgiven?

– Confess your sins.
– Don’t force someone to forgive you.
– Take responsibility for your behavior, and be patient to allow them time to work through the pain you may have caused.

Offenses will come, but you have a choice to harbor a grudge and hold onto anger, resentment or vengeful thoughts; or to choose to forgive. When you’ve wronged someone, you have a choice of defending your failure and covering it up with lies, pretending you’re innocent, or to confess, ask forgiveness and change course.

For if ye forgive man their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. Matthew 6:14-15, KJV

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *