After God gave me some very powerful thoughts about forgiveness a couple months ago, I’ve had the opportunity to put the lessons to the test. If you missed it: “Forgive Our Debts As We Forgive Our Debtors,” God recently gave me ample opportunity to put forgiveness into practice. Although it’s been painful, it’s been an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
To say that experiencing the power of forgiveness is remarkable—is an understatement!
True forgiveness empowers us beyond our greatest imagination. Of course, the enemy does NOT want any of us to know this great secret! In addition to the spiritual advantages of forgiveness, medical science has also discovered the physical benefits. In an article published by John Hopkins Medicine, “Forgiveness: Your Body Depends On It,” the author makes some remarkable medical observations:
Whether it’s a simple spat with your spouse or long-held resentment toward a family member or friend, unresolved conflict can go deeper than you may realize—it may be affecting your physical health. The good news: Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your 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 research points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age.
“There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.
WOW—it’s a “win-win” for us to exercise complete forgiveness—RIGHT?! But do you know what our largest obstacle is to the multidimensional healing power of forgiveness? One word: PRIDE. We believe that since WE are the victim—WE should NOT be the one to forgive. We WANT the offender to pay. We think they should come to us and ask for OUR forgiveness. But this pride is in DIRECT opposition to what Jesus taught:
“Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:23-24
When someone has done something to offend us or, we know they have something against us—it takes a humble heart to make the first attempt to reconcile. You see, when we receive God’s GIFT OF SALVATION, we are empowered to forgive beyond our mental and emotional capabilities. Jesus lives within us. Our life is our gift back to our Lord and Savior. But, according to Him, we can’t give this gift without FIRST exercising forgiveness. Thus, every minute we live in the pride of unforgiveness, we miss opportunities that we can NEVER get back. Why? Because we are living in opposition to God.
“God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”1 Peter 5:5
GOD has forgiven us for more than we can ever imagine forgiving anyone else. Granted, there are sometimes situations where it seems like it’s impossible to forgive; especially when the transgression is by someone in our inner circle. The betrayal is deeper, more personal, and often shakes the very foundation of our identity. But God CAN and WILL help us. If you are struggling to forgive someone who has brutally hurt you, then that’s a level of hurt you must turn over to God. I can testify that have been times when all I could do was pray:
“God I can’t forgive this person—it hurts too much; I need You to help me forgive.“
He does. Every time.
God understands our weaknesses and HE, better than ANYONE, understands the pain of deep betrayal. If you desire to forgive because you LOVE God, He will give you the power to forgive ANYONE for ANYTHING.
That is the way God has forgiven you.
Forgiveness restores hope; hope heals us from the inside out! “Do You Need Hope Restored…”
To learn more about Kimberly Faith and the mission of Faith Strong, click HERE.
Out Now – Essential Faith, Volume II. Find it on Amazon by clicking HERE.