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We know that God’s word tells us to forgive.  Science backs up the physical and mental value in forgiveness–God’s commands bring not only spiritual freedom and wholeness but also physical and psychological as well!

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.

Can You Learn to Be More Forgiving?

Forgiveness is not just about saying the words. “It is an active process in which you make a conscious decision to let go of negative feelings whether the person deserves it or not,” Swartz says. As you release the anger, resentment and hostility, you begin to feel empathy, compassion and sometimes even affection for the person who wronged you.

Studies have found that some people are just naturally more forgiving. Consequently, they tend to be more satisfied with their lives and to have less depression, anxiety, stress, anger and hostility. People who hang on to grudges, however, are more likely to experience severe depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as other health conditions. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t train themselves to act in healthier ways. In fact, 62 percent of American adults say they need more forgiveness in their personal lives, according to a survey by the nonprofit Fetzer Institute.

Making Forgiveness Part of Your Life

Forgiveness is a choice, Swartz says. “You are choosing to offer compassion and empathy to the person who wronged you.” The following steps can help you develop a more forgiving attitude—and benefit from better emotional and physical health.

1. Reflect and remember.

That includes the events themselves, and also how you reacted, how you felt, and how the anger and hurt have affected you since.

2. Empathize with the other person.

For instance, if your spouse grew up in an alcoholic family, then anger when you have too many glasses of wine might be more understandable, says Swartz.

3. Forgive deeply.

Simply forgiving someone because you think you have no other alternative or because you think your religion requires it may be enough to bring some healing. But one study found that people whose forgiveness came in part from understanding that no one is perfect were able to resume a normal relationship with the other person, even if that person never apologized. Those who only forgave in an effort to salvage the relationship wound up with a worse relationship.

4. Let go of expectations.

An apology may not change your relationship with the other person or elicit an apology from her. If you don’t expect either, you won’t be disappointed.

5. Decide to forgive.

Once you make that choice, seal it with an action. If you don’t feel you can talk to the person who wronged you, write about your forgiveness in a journal or even talk about it to someone else in your life whom you trust.

6. Forgive yourself.

The act of forgiving includes forgiving yourself. For instance, if your spouse had an affair, recognize that the affair is not a reflection of your worth, says Swartz.

(Excerpt from Johns Hopkins Health.)

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Joan Bartruff
January 2, 2020

Heavenly Father, in the Name of our Savior, and Your precious Son, Jesus I rebuke the powers of darkness in His Name who use lack of forgiveness and understanding to impact Your world in so many negatives ways. Clear the way for hearts around the world to grasp that the perfect Sacrifice was made for any sin ever committed by our Savior on Golgotha. Show individuals one way to freedom from hurt and grievance is to examine one’s own heart and realize and be accountable for the hurt they have done to others, for all have sinned. Once one realizes their need for forgiveness it is much easier to forgive others. Science has proven by God’s grace how unhealthy unforgivness is. Please stir up in the minds of people everywhere the need to set aside hurts and hatred, and then know the blessings of forgiveness and the love God feels for us and desires us to feel for others even our enemies. Amen

Elaine Danan
January 1, 2020

“A More Excellent Way” by Dr. Henry Wright of BeInHealth.com has long said 80% of illness and disease have a spiritual cause! Miracles of healing attributed to Forgiving, even breast cancer! Praise God! He is getting the word out!

m weiss
January 1, 2020

Beautiful prayer.

M. Weiss
January 1, 2020

Very helpful.
Forgiveness is good.
Unforgiveness is poison to the vessel in which it is contained.
The motive behind forgiveness matters.
We MUST forgive BECAUSE there is only ONE who is perfect
and He died that we could be forgiven and set free IF we would
live according to His will, His Word and live His way.
There is only One way. The other leads to destruction.
Thank you.

Laun Storm
December 31, 2019

As the Lord forgave us. We must foregive others. If we choose not to obey commandment then let us desire based on wisdom and freedom of this article.

Ken Budz
December 31, 2019

Dear Lord thank You for forgiving me of my sins. Lord help me to always be forgiving of others and help me to be more understanding. Lord You are gracious. Please help me to be gracious. Lord help me to focus on You and others not on wrongs but on what is right. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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