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Forgiveness, a relatively easy word to spell, but for some, considerably difficult to action. In this post I will explore the importance of forgiving using relevant and personal examples.

What does it mean to truly forgive?

Forgive – stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.

Benefits of forgiving.

Before I engage with the primary body of the post, I’m going to list the core benefits of forgiveness, which I’ll explore later in greater detail.

  1. Better and more productive relationships
  2. Improved health – holding anger and bitterness can cause STRESS, ANXIETY and High blood pressure.
  3. Those who hold malice have shorter life spans.
  4. Emotional and physical pain. Physical pain, we all know that hurts, but for those who’ve never experienced emotional pain, it’s horrible.

 

Purpose of the post

The reason I’m writing about this subject is because I’ve realised recently, I struggle to openly forgive people. I’d recognised the negative effect, it’s had on me and since adopting a more forgiving nature I’ve observed a positive change in my attitude. In addition the most famous prayer of all is the Lord’s prayer, and one of the most prominent parts of the prayer is “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” This is a clear indication of the importance put on forgiveness. The verse makes it clear that forgiveness works in 2 ways, us being forgiven by God and additionally us forgiving others. I would like to encourage all to implement a more forgiving nature, and hope this post can inspire that process to take place.

One of the direct effects of not forgiving others is Anger and resentment. Both are draining and emotionally heavy. They’re exceedingly difficult to shift and have direct effects on your day to day behaviour. I always tell people when you’re angry, that’s when you’re most vulnerable to other sins. From seemingly little things such as swearing to physical abuse.

Example

Imagine you’re playing football and someone fouls you, they apologise, but you’re too upset to forgive. The likelihood is you’ll seek retribution. You’ll commence to play erratic and start arguing with your own team mates and referee, you’re then issued a yellow card. Your manager is so concerned that’ll you do something stupid. They take you off the pitch and bench you for the next few games as well as fine you for your yellow card

Really hope I didn’t lose you by using football as an example. But I was trying to show is how an unforgiving attitude affects you more than it does anyone else.

Your consequential actions had no direct impact on the person who initially done you wrong, it did however have an adverse effect on YOU.

That person will go home, watch Eastenders and sleep peacefully, you on the other hand will go home and be vex at the world have an argument with whoever is at home. For example’s sake we will say your wife, then you guys don’t talk for 2 days and it causes severe issues with your relationship. You take the issues to work, under perform all week and don’t hit targets. Your then put on probation and lose your job.

Some might say this is an extreme scenario, but it’s not. For some it’s so relevant and real. I recently let go of a 12 year grudge. I thought I was over it, but I wasn’t. The incident was a genuine attempt to end my life. I had come to peace with the incident a couple years later and promised God, I wouldn’t retain any malice, but deep down I did. Thankfully, I’ve now been released from that bondage and it feels amazing. I only realised I needed to wholeheartedly forgive the persons involved when I was seeking yet another second chance and forgiveness from God. It hit me mid prayer…

“How can I ask God to forgive me when I can’t forgive others”

Charles Stanley says “If we comprehend God’s forgiveness toward us but refuse to forgive those who’ve wronged us, then we’re like the wicked, ungrateful slave Jesus described in Matthew 18:23-34“.

If I can forgive the individuals who attempted to kill me, I’m sure there is hope for us all out there. Make no mistake, I still have my issues with forgiving people straight away. As I write this post, there’s several people I need to forgive, some I’ve forgave literally before I pressed the “publish” button.

With forgiveness comes happiness, with happiness comes better friendships and relationships.

Conclusion

When someone has deeply offended you stress and worry can become follow on affects especially where the person is close and/or the feelings towards them lasts a prolonged period. This can negatively impact your well-being. Health is everything, especially when you are so valuable to many other people. If you’re reading this and you know you have bitterness towards someone, then I encourage you today, let go of it. It could be a sibling or a stranger, It doesn’t matter, just learn to forgive and do yourself a justice.

Every situation is different and should be managed with wisdom. Where possible resume normal activity with that person and offer support if needed. However, avoid putting yourself in a position where that person can offend you again. For example, if someone you’ve previously lent money too has let you down, apply wisdom, understand and accept that money lending cannot be a part of your friendship anymore.

I’ve included a prayer adapted from the book “The Gift of Forgiveness”

Lord, I forgive (name of person) for (name the specifics). I claim authority over the enemy and take back the ground I’ve allowed Satan to gain because of my attitude toward (the person). I give this area of my life back to the Lord Jesus Christ. I pray this in His name and in the power of His Holy Spirit.

And remember….

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