Dictionary.com defines the word “forgive” like this: to grant pardon for; absolve. Well that is what God has done for us. He has absolved us of our sins. But if you scroll down on that same handy Website, you’ll see that the word “forgive” can also be defined like this: to cease to feel resentment against.
In unforgiveness, we replay the offense again and again, renting too much space in our mind to our anger. The energy that we expend on unforgiveness is both emotionally and physically exhausting. However, it’s hard to truly forgive and let go of the hurt. How do we know that we are harboring negativity because he haven’t forgiven?
Here are some statements you may make to yourself if have a hard time forgiving
Do any of these sound remotely familiar? Just reading it doesn’t feel good, does it? Here are some research findings about what unforgiveness does to us. Lack of forgiveness causes increases in:
None of this sounds good--neither the feelings nor the associated health concerns. We should strive for forgiveness. As if Jesus telling us to do it isn’t enough, here are some research findings about those who live with the capacity for forgive (others and themselves): Forgiveness causes increases in:
Forgiveness causes decreases in:
Wow! Shouldn’t we make learning to live in forgiveness the goal? It won’t happen overnight and you can use some help. Start by asking God for help in the moments when you catch yourself thinking negatively about someone or yourself.
I have been a counselor for over 18 years. I am an Associate Professor and the Department Head for Clinical Mental Health Counseling at the University of North Georgia. I can help you on your path to forgiveness. Schedule an appointment with me.