“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”
– Ephesians 4:32 ESV
Recently in my small group at church, we were talking about forgiveness. Some in the group shared how they have a hard time forgiving others and how this un-forgiveness negatively impacts their lives and relationships.
Someone once said that “un-forgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. The way un-forgiveness effects the offended is far greater than its effects on the offender. Studies have suggested that un-forgiveness may lead to depression, eating disorders, personality disorders and a host of other physical and psychological problems, not to mention its negative impact on our relationship with God.
On the flip-side, other studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for our health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression, and stress. And we must not forget that forgiving others honors God as well.
So, the best action we can take when someone says or does something to hurt us is to forgive them. In forgiving we are not saying what that person did is OK or right or good, but as Dr. Robert Jeffress said, “ to forgive somebody means to let go of the offense, to give up your right to hurt that person for hurting you, and to pray for God’s best in that person’s life.”
Will forgiving someone who has hurt us deeply be hard to do? Probably. But, with God all things are possible.