Mysterious Freedom Gained by Forgiveness
Forgiveness is a mysteriously freeing action both on the giving and receiving end. I think about my own capacity to forgive and to receive forgiveness. It’s a challenge at times!
How often do we rewrite the parable of the Prodigal Son to fit it into our narrow perception of God and His mercy? Maybe it’s hard for us to accept that God really means what He says when we listen to the words of Jesus, “I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).
Everyone gets hurts by others
Nearly everyone has been hurt by the actions or words of another. I’m sure we all have our own stories!! (I’ll save mine for another post.) Perhaps your mother criticized your parenting skills, your colleague sabotaged a project or your friend betrayed you in some way. These wounds can leave you with lasting feelings of anger, bitterness or even vengeance.
What I’ve learned is if you don’t practice forgiveness, you might be the one who pays most dearly. By embracing forgiveness, you can also embrace peace, hope, gratitude and joy. Consider how forgiveness can lead you down the path of physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. It really works!
What is forgiveness?
Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge. The act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life. Forgiveness can even lead to feelings of understanding, empathy and compassion for the one who hurt you.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean that you deny the other person’s responsibility for hurting you, and it doesn’t minimize or justify the wrong. You can forgive the person without excusing the act. I’ve found forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life. It’s like a heavy weight being lifted off your back. Whew!
What are the benefits of forgiving someone?
Mayo Clinic reports letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for happiness, health and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:
- Healthier relationships
- Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
- Less anxiety, stress and hostility
- Lower blood pressure
- Fewer symptoms of depression
- Stronger immune system
- Improved heart health
- Higher self-esteem
Bob Rice, musician, speaker, teacher at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH shares a perspective perhaps you haven’t considered.
Jesus loves you and there is always a way back to the Father. God always forgives!
I’d love to hear your thoughts about your challenges and victories in forgiving others.