Forgiveness is a topic that is hard for people to come to terms with. Many people have their own views and opinions about forgiveness. Whether you choose to forgive your abuser or offender or you choose not to forgive, the choice is yours. Forgiveness is a choice. But before you decide whether to forgive or not to forgive, first read the benefits of forgiving and dangers of not forgiving. This will enable you to make a better-informed decision.
Firstly, what is forgiveness? Forgiveness according to Wikipedia, is typically defined as the process of concluding resentment, indignation or anger as a result of a perceived offense, difference or mistake, or ceasing to demand punishment or restitution.
Forgiveness does not change the past but it changes the pain of the past and—unlocks the door to the future.
If you are out of harmony with anyone;
If you have been caused unhappiness in the past for which you are still holding a grudge;
If you feel you have been unjustly treated in financial or private matters;
If you feel that some loss has robbed you of the happiness that should have been yours by divine right;
If you have been abused be it sexual or domestic abuse;
If you feel strongly about unhappy childhood and family experiences – you may have every human reason for your feelings, and for continuing to nurse them.
You may be able to justify those feelings in a thousand ways, but you mainly hurt yourself by holding the grudge. Your health, prosperity, happiness, and peace of mind can and will be destroyed if you continue to harbour negative emotions.
It’s probably true to say that most of us have been hurt in someway in our childhood. Too often we remain, to a greater extent, bound and oppressed by the resulting negative emotions and feelings from the past. These arise from our memory of the hurts that may be stored in our conscious or subconscious. So we have difficulty in living in peace with ourselves; and when we marry we may both bring this “baggage” of anxiety, rejection, anger, inferiority or low self-image into our relationship, with often disastrous results, and probably without knowing why.
If you now are in a state of ill health, there maybe something, somebody or some memory you need to forgive and release from your feelings forever. Perhaps you are not consciously aware of what it is. But your subconscious mind, which is the storehouse of your feelings, emotions, and memories, knows what it is. It will respond with release and healing when you give yourself treatments in forgiveness and by using the following affirmation; ““I fully and freely forgive. I loose and let go. I let go and let God’s (or Universe’s) love do its perfect work in me, through me, for me. I let go and let God’s (or Universe’s) love do its perfect work in the conscious, subconscious and super conscious activities of my mind, body and affairs. I give thanks that peace, health, plenty and happiness now reign supreme in me and my world.”
Philosophers and sages of all times have tried to point out that man’s health is controlled by his attitudes toward himself and others. Hippocrates, the 4th century Greek physician, wrote: “men ought to know that from the brain and from the brain only arise our pleasures, laughters and jests, as well as our sorrows, grieves and fears.” Plato declared, “If the head and the body are to be well, you must begin by curing the soul.”
Bitterness, unbelief, impatience, passivity, chronic unmet needs, resentment, rebellion, tension, hatred, jealousy, sickness, depression, addiction, blame, despair are all evil fruits of unforgiveness. They are all devastating to our relationship with God or Universe and with one another.
On the other hand, unconditional love, mercy, grace, kindness, humility, joy, peace, wisdom, patience, freedom, faithfulness, integrity, flexibility are all good fruits of forgiveness. They preserve our relationship with God or Universe and with one another.
3 BENEFITS OF FORGIVING
1. Freedom to move on in your life
2. Freedom to love freely without fear or holding back
3. You break the chain of bondage the abuser or offender holds over you
3 DANGERS OF NOT FORGIVING
1. You are trapped in the abuser or offender’s bondage and you are letting them control you long after the event has passed.
2. Your health is at risk. You may experience bouts of depression, mental torture and even cancer. Some forms of cancer has been known to be caused by hatred. If you hate your abuser or offender so much with passion, you could get cancer that might lead to your death. The offender is not affected, just you.
3. You deny yourself freedom to happiness, love and peace
3 STEP PROCESS TO FORGIVENESS
1. Honour the pain of the journey
· Acknowledge the pain, anger, guilt, shame and all negative feelings caused by the hurt
· Accept the pain, anger, guilt, shame and all negative feelings without unloading them unto the abuser or offender
· Try and understand that the abuser or offender only behaved according to their level of knowledge, understanding and awareness
2. Forgive & heal Yourself First
· Forgive yourself first for any guilt, shame or negative feelings you may still have
· Replace the pain with love. This starts giving you a sense of peace.
3. Forgive the abuser or offender
· Make a conscious decision to forgive the abuser or offender. Use affirmations such as “I choose to forgive (insert name of abuser or offender here). I release and let go. You are free and I am free.”
· Recognise that forgiving the abuser or offender is for you not them.
· They don’t have to know that you’ve forgiven them and you do not have to tell them
· Recognise that there maybe a hidden message in that experience
· Each time any pain comes up, repeat the affirmation above over and over again or any other you find comforting or helpful.
· Acknowledge that it will take time and be patient with yourself.
· Extend compassion to the abuser or offender therefore releasing you from the offense.
The Healing Power of Forgiveness
When we look after our health, we think about diet & fitness, and getting regular checkups. But our emotions can affect our health, too. If you have been holding a grudge or two, it may be hurting you physically as well as psychologically. The cure? Forgiveness. Recent studies have shown that practicing forgiveness can have a positive effect on our health.
Other Health benefits of Forgiveness
· According to a study at Duke University Medical Center, people who have forgiven others experience lower levels of physical pain, anger, and depression.
· In the study, people with chronic back pain felt less pain and anxiety when they used meditation to help them forgive and release their anger.
· Forgiveness may also benefit your heart. Researchers at the University of Tennessee have found a connection between being forgiving and blood pressure and stress. According to the study, people who forgave more easily had a lower resting blood pressure and heart rate than people who did not forgive as easily. In addition, people who were rated as “high forgivers” were more likely to work harder to resolve conflict. As a result, they also tended to have stronger relationships.
· Forgiveness is also healing. Research suggests that the ability to forgive yourself and others can boost your immune system and help you to recover more quickly from illness or disease.
· Holding a grudge is like putting your body through a major stressful event. Your blood pressure rises, your muscles tense, and you sweat more. When you forgive the grudge, your body can relax and release the stress.
· Forgiveness may be so healing because it is an antidote to anger, anger has been shown to be detrimental to your health. A study in an issue of Neurology has found that anger and negative emotions can precede a stroke. In the study, people who had strokes were more likely to experience these feelings in the two hours prior to the stroke.
· In addition to the physical benefits, letting go of anger by practicing forgiveness can enrich your relationships and ultimately help you to be a happier person.
Other Methods of Forgiving
Forgiveness can seem very difficult, but researchers have found that it is a skill that can be learned. There are many methods you can try, including meditation, visualization and simply talking it out with a trusted friend or counsellor.
When the going gets though, be your own coach and pump yourself up. Remind yourself how forgiveness will help you:
1. We tend to equate forgiveness with weakness, but in reality, it takes a strong person to forgive.
2. When you hold a grudge, you are making the other person responsible for your happiness and allowing your anger toward them to control you. But when you forgive someone, you take responsibility for your own happiness and are no longer controlled by your anger.
3.Forgiveness is a gift to the other person, but also to yourself, because you free yourself from the anger.
4. Forgiveness is the freedom to move on.
WHAT FORGIVENESS IS NOT
Forgiveness is best understood in the context of related activities. Sometimes forgiveness may be associated with one or more of the below activities, but it is a separate act.
1. Forgiveness is not necessarily reconciliation, it can be a gift that the other either accepts or rejects or does not even know about. It is in the heart of the forgiver. For reconciliation, two people are needed and then the relationship between them needs to be restored. For reconciliation, forgiveness is needed.
2. Forgiveness is not pardoning, for pardoning is a transaction, often a legal one, which releases the injuring person from the consequences of his or her injurious actions. In pardoning, the pardoner takes on or blots out the loss caused by the damaging situation. In many publications, the term forgiveness is used when pardoning may be more accurate.
3. Forgiveness is not condoning, for it does not excuse harmful behaviour. It just deals with it.
4. Forgiveness is not forgetting, for deep hurts usually cannot be wiped out of one’s memory.
To help you further, apply the 3-Step process to forgiveness to a situation in your life that you may be battling whether to forgive or not to forgive.
Revenge is natural. Forgiveness is supernatural… Paul Carlin
It took me 9 years to forgive my ex-husband who abused me for four and half years. That is double the number of years I was married and abused by him. I wish I knew what I know now about forgiveness and its benefits.Tweet